Working in the U.S.

Working in the U.S. 

We understand that some students may want or need to work during their time at the Nicholas School, and many of our students seek U.S.-based internships or post-graduation jobs. The Nicholas School’s Career and Professional Development Center and  other offices at Duke are here to help you navigate your job search and prepare the necessary documentation.

Applying for a Social Security Card
If you have a job offer from an on-campus employer, you will need to apply for a Social Security number once you arrive in the United States. The International House can provide you with more details about the application process; IHouse also provides transportation to the Social Security office once per week in the early part of the semester.

Working during School
Your Nicholas School coursework will be a full-time job in itself, particularly during the first semester. Be cautious about taking a job that requires you to work more than 8 hours per week (including any assistantship work you may do in the Nicholas School). Although many on-campus jobs prefer to hire work-study students (and international students are not eligible for work-study), international students do often find jobs on campus, including at the library and at the Nasher Art Museum.

Internships (CPT)

If you are on a F1 student visa, you can take an internship in the United States while you’re a student (e.g., in the summer between academic years) if it qualifies as curricular practical training (CPT). Duke’s Office of Visa ServicesInternational House, and the Nicholas School’s Office of Student Services can assist you with this process. You will need to complete a CPT Application and prepare a letter explaining how your internship fits into your academic program.

Jobs (OPT)
Optional practical training (OPT) applies to international students on an F student visa who are planning to seek employment for 12 months in the U.S. following graduation. OPT does not guarantee employment in the U.S., but it is necessary documentation for accepting a U.S.-based job offer. Start your application a few months before your graduation date and do your best to anticipate when you are likely to start working in a U.S. job (because your 12 months of permitted work using OPT will start on that date whether you actually have a job then or not). Duke’s Office of Visa ServicesInternational House, and the Nicholas School’s Office of Academic and Enrollment Services can assist you with this process.


>> View the Work Authorization Slideshow F1 J1 -CPT, OPT and STEM