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Academic Training

J-1 Student Academic Training

Academic training is a type of off-campus work authorization for employment or training experience directly related to a J-1 student's field of study. Academic Training is authorized by an International Student Advisor/Resposnible Officer at UC Merced. Academic Training does not require authorization from the Department of Homeland Security or USCIS. If UC Merced is your sponsor, an advisor in OIA will evaluate your application and authorize you for Academic Training.

If your DS-2019 was not issued by UC Merced, check with your sponsor for Academic Training questions and approval.


  • Enrollment in full-time legal status for at least one semester
  • Job offer letter (Letter must meet requirements noted below)
  • Letter of recommendation from academic advisor or dean
  • Work must be primarily in-person: J-1s on Academic Training may work remotely no more than 40% of the time (e.g., two days out of five)


Degree Seeking Students can participate in no more than 18 months of Academic Training or a period of time equal to the length of the study program, whichever is less.

The total Academic Training may be used pre or post completion. Example: If you qualify for 18 months of Academic Training, and you use 6 months of pre-completion Academic Training, you will only have 12 months remaining after completion of your degree.

Acdemic Training can be extended only for postdoctoral researchers up to a maximum total of thirty-six (36) months. Students may apply for the extension at any time before the expiration of their eighteen (18)-month academic training so long as the Academic Training has a research component verified by the faculty advisor as part of the Academic Training request form.


Submit the Academic Training Request Form along with the letter from your academic advisor and employer to the Office of International Affairs at least two weeks (10 working days) before completion of your program. Once your program is complete and DS-2019 program end date has expired, there is no option for Academic Training.


The student’s academic dean or advisor must prepare a letter of recommendation to include the following information:

  • Goals and objectives of the specific academic training program;
  • A description of the academic training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
  • A statement on how the academic training relates to the student’s major field of study
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program


The job offer letter must be on business letterhead and include the following information:

  • Student Full Legal Name:
  • Company Name:
  • Company Address:
  • Student’s Job Title:
  • Detailed Job Description including clear descriptions of student’s role, responsibilities, and duties. (Please attach an additional page if needed for full job description.):
  • Start and End Dates of Employment:
  • Hours per week: (cannot be remote more than 40% of the time)
  • Salary/Wages and frequency (or indicate “unpaid”):
  • Supervisor’s Name (Note: supervisor must not be an F-1 or J-1 student):
  • Supervisor’s Job Title:
  • Supervisor Email:
  • Supervisor Telephone:
  • Student’s Physical Worksite Name: (Only if different from company name above)
  • Student’s Worksite Address*: (Only if different from company address above)


Students must maintain health insurance as required by the U.S. Department of State throughout the duration of their Academic Training.  The following minimum benefits are required:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per illness or accident;
  • Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness;
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions after a 6-month waiting period;
  • Provision for co-insurance/co-payment that does not exceed 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and
  • Policy underwritten by an insurance company that meets the rating requirements of the US Department of State or backed by the full faith and credit of the home country government, designated sponsor, or Exchange Visitor’s employee group plan.