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Whitman College offers on-campus job opportunities to international and domestic students. Due to employment restrictions on F-1 and J-1 visa students, international students at Whitman are given preference similar to work-study eligible domestic students.

The Study In The States website offers detailed information on F-1 student employment.

  • International students in F-1 or J-1 status may work in on-campus jobs without special authorization. When class is in session, international students may work up to 20 hours weekly; during academic breaks when class is not in session, international students may work up to 40 hours weekly. Unauthorized employment, such as working more than 20 hours a week while the school is in session, will violate your lawful status and may result in termination.
  • If you are looking for a job, you can use Handshake, an online platform for on-campus jobs and internships. If you need assistance with your Handshake profile, please contact the Student Engagement Center at cecc_info@whitman.edu.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a temporary authorization for practical training that is available to eligible F-1 students. OPT provides F-1 students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience (work authorization) that is directly related to their major field of study.

F-1 students who wish to gain experience in their major through working off-campus may apply for OPT up to 90 days in advance. In order to be eligible to apply, F-1 students must:

  • Have current, valid F-1 status
  • Have completed one full academic year (two semesters) of full-time study prior to the start of OPT
  • Not have completed 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT); part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility
  • Not have completed 12 months of OPT at the same degree level (Bachelors)

Eligible F-1 students may apply for up to 12 months of full-time OPT, which may be used before (pre-completion OPT) or after (post-completion OPT) graduation, or a combination of both. The application fee for OPT is $410, which must be paid every time you apply for OPT. Check the International Students Canvas page for details and guides on how to apply.

F-1 students with majors on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List may apply for a 24-month extension no earlier than 90 days before the end of post-completion OPT.

OPT Requirements

  • Training opportunity must be directly related to the student's major field of study
  • For pre-completion OPT a student may work part-time when class is in session (no more than 20 hours weekly). For pre-completion OPT when class is not in session, as well as for post completion OPT (after graduation), a student may work full-time.
  • A student does not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT.
  • A student may not begin work until the first date of approved OPT as shown on their Employment Authorization Document (EAD, Form I-765).

Students seeking to apply for Optional Practical Training should make an appointment with the DSO.

Curricular Practical Training(CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study, whether paid or unpaid. CPT authorization may be part-time (20 hours or less weekly) or full-time (more than 20 hours weekly), and may take place when class is in session as well as during academic breaks. Check this StudyInTheStates website for more details.

To be eligible for CPT, F-1 students must:

  • Be in current, valid F-1 status
  • Have been enrolled in full-time study for at least one academic year (two semesters) prior to the start of CPT
  • Have a job or internship offer (CPT is specific to the training opportunity)

CPT Requirements

  • Training opportunity must be directly related to your major field of study
  • Training opportunity must be either:
    • Required for all students in your degree program in order to graduate, OR
    • Optional and credit-bearing, which means you must receive academic credit for participating in the training opportunity
  • If the training opportunity is for academic credit as a required component of a course, the course must be clearly listed in the College Catalog, along with the instructor from your major department who will be teaching the course
  • The best way to access CPT at Whitman College is to register for the Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences course (IDSC 125). This course is run in collaboration between your major advisor and CCEC. The core component of this course is a structured and supervised internship. Contact the CCEC office to learn more.
  • You may not engage in the training opportunity until the first date of approved CPT as shown on your Form I-20

Students seeking to apply for Curricular Practical Training should make an appointment with the DSO.

Social Security Numbers

  • F-1 and J-1 students with employment in the United States must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • To receive an SSN, the Social Security Administration must verify that you are eligible to work in the United States, that you are a full-time student, and that you have received an offer of on-campus employment or authorization to work off-campus.
  • You will need to apply for an SSN in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office. New international students must be validated in SEVIS prior to applying for the SSN.

How to Apply for an SSN

  1. Work with the DSO to prepare your employment eligibility letter.
  2. Apply in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office. You may apply no earlier than 30 days before your employment start date. You must bring the following documents with you:
    • Valid passport with valid F-1 visa
    • Form I-20
    • Form I-94
    • Completed and signed Employment Eligibility Form
    • Completed Form SS-5
  3. After you have completed your Social Security Number application in person, bring your application receipt to the Human Resources Office (Memorial Building 104) for your employment paperwork.
  4. Allow approximately two weeks for your Social Security card to arrive in the mail. Once you have received your Social Security card, take it to the Human Resources Office (Memorial Building 104) to complete your employment paperwork.

Paid Internships

All paid Internships will require utilization of pre-completion OPT or CPT. Contact your DSO for more information. 

Unpaid Internships

All unpaid Internships will have to go through OPT or CPT process as well. However, the college provides various means to cover the costs of housing, food and other expenditures during the course of the internship. Students who have secured unpaid internships are eligible for the Whitman Internship Grant.

The Career and Community Engagement Center offers the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students who submit strong applications to participate in unpaid internship experiences at both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

International students seeking to apply for a Whitman Internship Grant can use the IDSC 125 course or OPT work authorization. Please note that application deadlines for international students vary; check the application deadlines here if you are considering applying.


Visit the Career and Community Engagement Center for various volunteer opportunities that are either student-led or community led.

It is easy to confuse unpaid internships with volunteering. Internship relates to your course of study or future career prospects. Volunteering is when "you give, but not receive", that is an activity from which you do not directly benefit. Example: Computer Science student volunteers in an animal shelter. However, for a veterinary medicine student the same activity would qualify as unpaid internship. Therefore, the Computer Science student can volunteer with no employment authorization, but the vet student would need either CPT or OPT. By its definition, volunteering is only possible at not-for-profit or charitable institutions.

Office Information
  • Memorial Building 205
    345 Boyer Ave.
    Walla Walla, WA 99362
  • Email or Call to Schedule a Virtual Advising Appt.
  • 509-527-4992
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