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Academic Training

Academic Training (AT) is employment, training, or experience related to a student's major field of study as indicated on their DS-2019. Academic training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers, occurring before or after degree completion, provided that all eligibility requirements are met and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity, and the maximum eligibility time limits are not exceeded.

For students whose DS-2019's were issued by ESF, Academic Training authorization is granted by the Office of International Education; for sponsored students (e.g., Fulbright), Academic Training is authorized by your J-1 Program Sponsor.

To be eligible for Academic Training, you must:

  • be in good academic standing;
  • obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic department (see " Advisor Recommendation Letter Templates");
  • have a job offer for a position directly related to your J-1 program of study as indicated on your DS-2019 that will begin no later than 30 days after your program completion; and
  • maintain health insurance coverage that meets the Department of State's minimum requirements for yourself and any dependents staying with you in the U.S.

Maximum Period of Academic Training Eligibility

Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for Academic Training.

Undergraduate and Pre-Doctoral Training (Pre and Post-Completion)

  • Academic Training cannot exceed 18  months or the period of the full course of study (whichever is less) inclusive of any prior academic training in the U.S. at the current or previous degree level.
    • Exception: if the training is mandatory and required for completion of the degree program.
  • Students may work part-time while school is in session and full-time during the summer and winter breaks; All academic training is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.
  • Academic Training before completion of studies will be deducted from the total 18 or 36 months of Academic Training eligibility.

Post-Doctoral Training

  • Academic Training may not exceed the amount of time it took for you to complete your full course of study, or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you receive a Ph.D., however, your post-doctoral training may last as long as 36 months (inclusive of any prior J-1 academic training in the U.S.), provided you have a postdoctoral position in an academic institution.
  • A new DS-2019 must be issued for each 18 month academic training authorization period.

Part-Time Academic Training Is Deducted at the Full-Time Rate

All academic training is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.

To apply for initial authorization or renewal of your Academic Training, you must submit the following to the Office of International Education:  

  • Department Recommendation Letter
    Letter must include:
    • Degree level
    • Field of study
    • Graduation date
    • Student’s position title for Academic Training experience
    • Supervisor with contact information
    • Academic Training site name & complete address (physical work location, not necessarily company headquarters)
    • # of hours per week student will be engaged in the academic training
    • Start and end date of the Academic Training experience
    • Objectives of the Academic Training experience
    • How the academic training relates to the student's major field of study; and

    • Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the student.

  • Job offer letter from employer that includes salary information
  • Academic Training Request Form
  • Job offer letter from your prospective employer
  • Proof of funding equivalent to the cost of living for the DS-2019 extension/Academic Training period as calculated based on the J-1 Student Financial Worksheet
    • Financial support can be in the form of salary/stipend/personal bank statement/sponosrship
  • J-1 Attestation of Health Insurance; attach proof of current and continuous health insurance that meets Department of State’s minimum requirements (for you and dependents)
  • Copies of your: previous DS-2019s, passport, visa, and I-94 card

SUNY-ESF
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY-ESF |
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
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