UMD: A Globally Connected University

Academic Training

Academic Training

Academic Training (AT) is the name that the U.S. Department of State uses for certain types of study-related, off-campus internships or employment for students in J-1 status. It is available both before and after the completion of your program of study. You must obtain Academic Training authorization BEFORE you begin working.


  • Maintain J-1 status for at least one academic year (2 semesters)*
  • Primary purpose in the U.S. is to study
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • Proposed employment must be in your major field of study
  • Maintain J-1 status and apply for extensions, as necessary
  • Maintain health insurance coverage for yourself & dependents throughout period of AT
  • *J-1 exchange students are exempt from the 2-semester requirement if they have approval from the home university to participate in AT after the exchange period. If you are an exchange student, you should meet with an ISSS advisor to determine your options.


  • AT is not to exceed the length of your program of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter
  • J-1 students who earn a Ph.D. are eligible for 2 periods of 18 months of AT
  • Part-time (20 hours per week) AT counts against the 18- or 36-month limit the same as full-time AT
  • Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for AT
  • Hours per week:
    • In general, maximum 20 hours per week during the semester (part-time)
    • No maximum limit during school vacations (full-time)
  • New transfer students are not eligible for AT in their first semester at UMD

AT After Program Completion

  • Will be reduced by any prior periods of AT during your program
  • Must involve paid employment
  • You must have your job offer and apply for AT authorization BEFORE the completion of your program of study.

Application Procedure

Step 1.  Obtain an offer letter on official company letter head from an employer which includes all of the following information:

  • Job title
  • Brief description of goals & objectives of the training program (your employment)
  • Specific start & end dates of employment
  • Address of the work place
  • Number of hours per week
  • Name of your training supervisor
  • Compensation

Step 2.  Give a copy of your offer letter to your UMD academic advisor for use in writing a letter of recommendation for AT addressed to an ISSS advisor. Your academic advisor's letter must include the following:

  • Goals and objectives of the specific training program
  • How the training relates to the student's field of study

Step 3.  Submit the offer letter and the academic advisor's letter of recommendation to a J-1 Advisor at ISSS for review and evaluation. If it is approved, your ISSS Advisor will authorize AT and issue a new Form DS-2019. In addition, he/she will write a letter of approval to provide to your employer.