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Internships & Employment

Step 1

On-Campus Employment

As an F-1 international student, you may work up to 20 hours per week on campus. During the summer and winter breaks, you may work up to 40 hours per week on campus. On-campus employment opportunities are plentiful, and many students do undertake employment while they study. To locate an on-campus job, please ask your advisor, read the Campus E-Update emails, and check out the Career Development Page.

Once you have received a job offer for on-campus employment, the International Relations and Global Engagement office will write a letter for you to obtain your Social Security Number. For more information about working on-campus schedule an advising appointment or email

Step 2

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

After completing one year of study (two semesters) at BHSU, you may be eligible to undertake an on or off-campus internship or employment opportunity under the CPT benefit for F-1 international students. You must receive approval from the DSO in the International Relations and Global Engagement office BEFORE beginning to work under CPT.

If you are interested in CPT, please schedule an advising appointment with us by emailing You may also complete the CPT Request Form and submit it to our office for review two weeks prior to your anticipated start date. DO NOT begin work until you have received approval. 

Step 3

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 international students have the benefit of work authorization upon completing their studies. This is called Optional Practical Training, or OPT. OPT is something for which you as the F-1 student must request through the International Relations and Global Engagement office, and then apply to US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). The approval time for OPT is approximately 90 days, and once approval is received, you may undertake employment anywhere in the United States for up to 12 months in a job that relates to your academic field of study. Certain fields of study, called STEM fields, may qualify for up to an additional 24 months of work authorization, for a total of 36 months.

If you plan to take advantage of this benefit, you should learn about the process to obtain OPT at least one year prior to your expected graduation. Our office offers OPT workshops and advice to help you prepare your OPT application, but you can also use these resources to inform yourself about the process:


Contact Info

Kaitlin Palmer
Phone: 605-642-6942
Fax: 605-642-6254

International Relations & Global Engagement
Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9519
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9519