Graduate Programs Internship and Work Authorization
Policy and Process
An internship will allow you to apply the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the classroom while gaining real-world experience. Internships are optional in most graduate programs. Students enrolled in a full-time course of study are strongly encouraged to pursue an internship.
A Gateway Internship will be required if students lack sufficient work experience prior to enrolling in the MBA program. Students who have been required to participate in a Gateway Internship will be informed upon admission and should consult with the Director of Graduate Programs as to the nature and the types of opportunities they are expected to pursue.
Most students will participate in a traditional internship which can be pursued after the completion of Gateway or Foundation level courses. It is recommended that students have at least one semester or graduate level business classes before pursuing an internship. International students with F1 visa status are required to have at least two semesters of full-time study prior to starting any internship.
Students are eligible to undertake an internship provided that they:
- have completed the Gateway/foundation portion of their program
- have completed their first year of study if they are an international student.
- are fully admitted into their program of study(provisional students are ineligible).
- are in good academic standing (those on probation are ineligible).
You must obtain approval from a CBA Graduate Advisor before starting the Internship and/or CIGA process and you must not contact prospective sponsors directly for CIGA opportunities but rather consult with the CBA Internship Coordinator who will make the initial contact.
MSA and M. Tax students must receive approval from the Chair of the George W. Daverio School of Accountancy. International MSA and M. Taxation students, on an F1 Visa, are ineligible for the internship, because the internship is not a degree requirement.
International students are expected to attend Office of International Programs (OIP) workshops related to internships (also known as Curricular Practical Training) prior to contacting the CBA Graduate Programs for authorization or contacting a potential employer.
After receiving an internship offer, students must provide the CBA Internship Coordinator with an official offer letter (on company letterhead) outlining the dates of employment, the salary, the number of hours to be worked, a brief description of the position and the name and phone number of the student’s supervisor.
In most instances the Internship credits (1-3) will be used to fulfill the MBA Action Learning requirement. In some instances, the internship may be used to fulfill an MBA concentration requirement with the Director’s approval. MSM students will use the internship for elective credit. At the time of approval an advisor will add you to the course 6700:695 Internship in Business, which is taught by the Director of Graduate Programs. Students are expected to write a paper relating their internship experience to the program of study.
Finding Internship Opportunities
You may learn of Internship opportunities via email from the Graduate Programs Office or the Career Center. The CBA Internship Coordinator may provide information on opportunities. You may also find opportunities by researching industries and companies which interest you.
Many corporations have official internship programs that require early application so being aware of CBA and OIP requirements as well as the employer’s requirements is essential if you are to successfully find placement.
You may find resources online, through the UA Career Center, via the CBA Graduate Programs Office or the CBA Internship Coordinator, Ms. Nicole Grambo, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take advantage of all opportunities available to expand your internship possibilities.
All opportunities should be approved by the Coordinator before contacting the potential employer. This ensures that students do not misrepresent their availability to participate in an internship and also provides some scrutiny of the internship opportunity to ensure that the employer is legitimate.
The Coordinator will complete the internship paperwork. If necessary she will consult with the Department and/or Graduate Programs Office if an opportunity may not seem appropriate to the degree program. At the time of approval the CBA Internship Coordinator will add you to the course 6700:695 Internship in Business, which is taught by the Director of Graduate Programs. Students are expected to write a paper relating their internship experience to the program of study.
Community and Industry Graduate Assistantships also provide off-campus work experience and are open to domestic and international students.
For International Students
International students are responsible for communicating with the UA Office of International Programs(OIP) and being aware of immigration rules. It is not your advisor’s responsibility to know these requirements. Information sessions are regularly held by OIP to provide this information to students.
According to OIP, international students with F-1 visa status are required to have at least two semesters of full-time study, nine credits per semester, prior to starting any internship and the internship must be a requirement for the program. If no internship option is included in the program of study, an internship cannot be pursued. In addition, international graduate students are limited to one semester of internship by the CBA.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) (Internship)
The forms authorizing an internship for international students may be found online or picked up in OIP. Students should be aware of these requirements and are expected to attend OIP workshops related to internships (also known as Curricular Practical Training) prior to contacting employers.
An international student should fill out the CPT paperwork and deliver it to the CBA Internship Coordinator, Nicki Grambo in CBA 260, along with a job offer letter as described above. The Coordinator will consult with the Graduate Programs Office as necessary to determine appropriateness of the internship to the degree program.
If an international student is in the process of completing their last semester of required courses, they are ineligible to pursue an Internship/Curricular Practical Training and must pursue an Optional Practical Training instead.
F-1 students may participate in a CPT program if it is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is defined to be alternate work/study, internship or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through agreements with the school. CPT may be full-time or part-time. Students doing part-time CPT must still enroll in classes full-time. Students doing full-time CPT are required to register for an internship class. Students must enroll for at least one semester after completion of CPT. Students who are finished with all coursework may not apply for curricular practical training; rather they must apply for OPT.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) (Post-Graduation Job Training)
Upon completion of degree requirements, International students are permitted one year of employment by the INS. During the last semester of enrollment, students should stop by OIP to determine what steps they must take to be eligible for an Optional Practical Training and to pick up the required paperwork. An advisor in the CBA Graduate Programs Office can then fill out the paperwork indicating the degree completion date and the date of graduation. This form must be presented to the OIP immigration specialists for processing. Internships may not be pursued during the period of Optional Practical Training because a student has completed all degree requirements. International students should discuss employment options with the immigration specialists of the Office of International Programs, to gain a better understanding of the opportunities which they are permitted to pursue.
F-1 students may apply for OPT authorization for temporary employment directly related to the student's major area of study. USCIS regulations state:
- Students may apply for 12 months of OPT after completion of their course of study and may become eligible for another 12 months when he/she changes to a higher education level;
- Students in English language training are not eligible for OPT;
- Students may apply for OPT up to 120 days prior to completion of studies, but may also apply for OPT after completion of studies; and
- Authorization to engage in OPT is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level.
Students in the MSM ISM program are eligible for an additional 17 months of OPT because it is a government sanctioned STEM program.
F-1 and J-1 Student Employment
On-campus: F-1 and J-1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. J-1 students should receive permission from the Office of International Programs prior to working. Academic training: J-1 students remain eligible for academic training work authorization as before. However, the Office of International Programs must electronically report the authorized period of academic training in SEVIS prior to the first date of employment.