Academic Training

Academic Training (AT) is a benefit given to J-1 students and allows them to gain practical experience in their field of study. AT is approved by the Office of International Services in accordance with guidelines established by the Department of State.

A college or university student can participate in academic training as follows:

       18-month general limit: For undergraduate and pre-doctoral training, a student can engage in up to 18 months or the period of the full course of study, whichever is less.

       36-month maximum for post-doctoral training: Up to 36 months of academic training can be granted for academic training done at the post-doctoral level, inclusive of all prior academic training done at that or lower levels of study. For J-1 students at USC, most opportunities following the doctoral degree qualify for the additional 18 months of AT authorization, provided they are related to the student’s field of study and recommended by the academic advisor. 

Academic Training may be:

  • Paid or unpaid, provided the student has sufficient resources to support his or her expenses while on Academic Training.
  • Part-time or full-time. Please note that all academic training is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.
  • Pre-completion or post-completion. AT is used to pursue practical experience in a student’s field of study before and/or after graduation. 

Academic Training is employer-specific, meaning that students must have a job/internship offer letter to apply. All AT requests must be approved in writing before employment may begin. In the case of post-completion Academic Training, authorization must be given no later than the end of the 30-day grace period following completion of studies. 

The end result of filing for Academic Training is the issuance of an updated DS-2019 and written AT authorization letter outlining the dates of employment and type of authorization (part or full-time, pre-or post-completion). OIS processing time for Academic Training is two weeks.  

How to Apply for Academic Training:

  • Complete the J-1 Student Employment Request form and have it signed by your academic advisor
  • Complete the Verification of Graduation form and have it signed by your academic advisor (for post-completion AT)
  • Provide a copy of the job/internship offer letter
  • Make an appointment with an OIS J-1 Advisor to submit your Academic Training application

Please note that Academic Training applications must be approved no later than the end of the 30-day grace period following completion of studies. OIS processing time is two weeks. 

Please note that Academic Training applications must be approved no later than the end of the 30-day grace period following completion of studies. OIS processing time is two weeks.  

Travelling while on Academic Training

Required documents to re-enter the U.S. while on Academic Training:

  • DS-2019 endorsed for travel; travel endorsement cannot be more than six months old
  • Academic Training authorization letter issued by OIS
  • Valid J-1 visa stamp
  • Valid passport
  • Students are encouraged to carry a copy of the job offer letter and latest pay stub while travelling during periods of authorized post-completion Academic Training

If a student’s J-1 visa is expired, they will need to renew it before you return to the United States. Be sure to bring all of the above listed documents in addition to the visa renewal procedures in the Visa Renewal section.