Federal regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) define Curricular Practical Training, as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship/practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”
Optional Practical Training allows up to 12 months of full-time employment authorization after completion of all coursework requirements or after completion of all degree requirements. OPT employment MUST be in the field of study and initial employment may begin only after an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) has been received from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The STEM OPT extension allows for 24 months of additional OPT employment authorization for students in specific STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Employment must be directly related to an F-1 student’s program of study in an approved STEM field.