Academic Training Explained

Academic Training (AT) is employment authorization granted to eligible J-1 Students. It is designed to complement their programs of study in the United States.

  • AT is authorized by the program sponsor
  • Students may engage in AT during their academic program and/or after the completion of their studies
  • AT can be paid or unpaid, but must be authorized regardless of compensation
  • The work must be directly related to the student’s field of study
  • The work must be commensurate with their level of education
  • The work must be in a fully in-person or hybrid position (with no more than 40% remote)
  • The total amount of AT cannot exceed the total length of the academic program
  • AT authorization is location and date specific. The employer’s name and address and the employment dates must be authorized in advance by an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) in the Office of Global Services (OGS).

Pre-Completion vs. Post-Completion Academic Training

Pre-completion AT takes place before the J-1 student completes all of their degree requirements. Post-Completion AT takes place after the J-1 student has completed all degree requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

A J-1 student is eligible for Academic Training if they meet the following requirements:

  • Student has maintained valid J-1 status throughout their program
  • Student is in good academic standing or has successfully completed program of study
  • Student is proposing a training experience that is directly related to their field of study and has been approved by the academic advisor or Co-op coordinator
  • Student will not engage in a 100% remote academic training opportunity. Students may work remotely no more than 40% of the time (e.g., two days out of five in a standard work week) when their employers have instituted partial remote policies. Please see the June 2023 Department of State guidance directive for more information.
  • Student is maintaining health insurance coverage for themselves and any J-2 dependents

PLEASE NOTE: As Global Experience Office (GEO) incoming exchange programs at Northeastern do not currently include an internship experience, non-degree exchange students are not eligible to apply for Academic Training.

Time Limitations

  • J-1 Undergraduate and Master’s Degree students are eligible for up to 18 months of AT; this includes both pre- and post-completion AT
    • NOTE: through December 31, 2024, the Department of State is allowing extension up to 36 months (or length of degree program, whichever is shorter) for undergraduate and master’s degree level students in eligible STEM fields. Please contact OGS for more information.
  • J-1 Doctoral Degree students are eligible for up to 36 months of AT; this includes both pre- and post-completion AT
  • The total AT period may not exceed the amount of time spent in a full course of study
    • Example: A Master’s student who completed their program in 12 months is only eligible for 12 months of AT
  • Post-AT time begins the day after the program end date listed on your DS-2019, whether you are working or not.
    • Example: If your graduation date is 5/8/2019, you must start counting your post-AT time on 5/9/2019, even if you do not start working on that date
  • It is your responsibility to track your AT usage
  • Post-AT authorization must be processed before the graduation date on your DS-2019
  • Post-AT must begin within 30 days completion of your studies.

Please note: Both full and part-time AT deduct at a full-time rate. This means that, even if AT authorization is given for work done on a part-time basis, each day of part-time training deducts a full day from the total amount of time a student is eligible for AT.

Requesting Authorization

To participate in an off-campus experiential learning opportunity in the U.S., J-1 Students must obtain AT authorization from OGS. All students must comply with their college's requirements and policies concerning the timing of eligibility for Co-op or other experiential learning opportunity. Please note that individual academic departments or colleges may have additional requirements and regulations for eligibility. OGS will not review any requests for AT that have not already been reviewed by the appropriate advisor.

1 Meet with your academic or Co-op advisor to discuss your experiential learning opportunity.

OGS will not review any requests that have not been approved by your academic or Co-op advisor.

2 Complete the Academic Training Authorization Request with your academic or Co-op advisor.

The Academic Training Authorization Request Form can be found on the Office of Global Services website.

3 Upload the appropriate completed e-form with your advisor signature at the link provided on the first page of instructions.

  • Valid passport
  • I-94 showing J-1 class of admission and an admit until date of D/S
  • Original offer letter that shows the following:
    • company letterhead
    • employment start and end dates
    • hours worked per week
    • compensation
  • For post-completion AT only: if the salary is less than $2,334 per month, the student must submit additional financial documentation to meet the minimum funding requirements

4 Receive your DS-2019 with AT Authorization from an ARO in the Office of Global Services

OGS will review the student’s request to determine whether or not the student is eligible to participate in AT. If denied, the student will need to resubmit the e-form after making appropriate adjustments to their application. Authorized students will receive an email to their Northeastern University email address with their digitally-signed DS-2019 and AT authorization letter for Social Security Number eligibility attached.

PLEASE NOTE: approval from your academic or co-op advisor for an off-campus internship/co-op does NOT mean you are automatically authorized to work off-campus. You should not engage in any off-campus employment until you receive an authorization from OGS.

Important Post-Completion Academic Training Reminders

  • Post-completion AT applications must be submitted at least 15 business days before your completion of studies (DS-2019 program end date). After this date, the SEVIS record will become inactive and OGS will be unable to authorize AT.
  • Post-completion AT employment must begin within 30 days of your completion of studies (DS-2019 program end date).
    • Example: If a student’s graduation date is 5/8/2024, work on post-completion AT would need to start by 6/7/2024.
  • You must maintain health insurance that meets the J-1 requirements for the entire duration of your academic training period.

Reviewing Your Updated DS-2019

When you receive your updated, digitally-signed DS-2019 with an academic training authorization on Page 1, it is very important that you read your DS-2019 carefully to make sure you understand the limitations of your authorization. This will enable you to maintain your status while on AT and avoid working outside of your authorization.

Please pay specific attention to the following areas:

  • Box 3 Form Covers Period – here you can see your new end date (if on post-completion AT)
  • Box 5 Academic Training – here you can see your employer information as well as the dates you are authorized to work

If there are any issues or concerns, please notify an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) in OGS.

Maintaining Status while on AT

  • Update OGS of any changes to your training. AT Authorization is employer, location, and date specific. Depending on the change, OGS may request additional documentation. It is important you do not engage in any changes until you have received your updated DS-2019 from OGS.
    • NOTE: OGS will not update your AT unless you have approval from the original advisor who signed off on your Academic Training Authorization Request.
  • You must maintain health insurance that meets the J-1 requirements for the entire duration of your academic training period.
  • 100% remote work during academic training is not permitted per Department of State guidance. Students may work remotely no more than 40% of the time (e.g., two days out of five in a standard work week) when their employers have instituted partial remote policies.
  • IMPORTANT REMINDER REGARDING AT EXTENSIONS: If you are seeking an extension of your AT authorization, you may not request an extension via the update e-form. If you are extending your AT, you must submit the Academic Training Authorization Request.

AT Evaluation Requirement

Per Department of State federal regulation 2 CFR 62.23(f)(6), Northeastern University as your J-1 program sponsor “…must evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the academic training in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the academic training program.” 

All J-1 students on Academic Training must submit an Academic Training (AT) Evaluation e-form at the following times:

  • When changing AT employers, you must submit an AT evaluation for the employer you are leaving. 
  • At the end of your AT period 

Key Resources

Academic Training (AT) Authorization Request Form »

This e-form is to request authorization to apply for AT.

Academic Training (AT) Update Request Form »

This e-form is to request an update to your AT authorization.