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A guide for international students looking to get the most out of their program.

As an international student in the California School of Management and Leadership (CSML) at Alliant International University, there are important acronyms you need to know to make the most of your education, get the full benefits available to you, and help you succeed as an international student. The following three acronyms you’ll want to know are explained in detail below.

1)    STEM

STEM is an acronym that stands for, collectively, the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. This acronym is most used in discussions about education in these fields or information and careers that include these industries. Currently, there are three CSML master’s programs that are STEM programs: data analytics, healthcare analytics, and information systems & technology. If you are a student in one of these programs, the term STEM will be applicable to you and your field of study. Information that pertains only to your program will mention that specific program by name.

2)    OPT

OPT stands for Optional Practical Training which is a benefit available to international students in F-1 immigration status who are enrolled in, or completing, a degree program in the United States. It is a temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study.

  • Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). 
  • If students have earned a degree in certain STEM fields (such as the ones described in #1 above), they may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT employment authorization. 
  • OPT is available to CSML international business students after the CSML master’s and doctoral programs.

3)    CPT

CPT stands for Curricular Practical Training. This is training that relates directly to the international student’s major area of study and is an integral part of the curriculum throughout the CSML master’s and doctoral programs. To participate, a designated school official (DSO) authorizes a CPT in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and the authorization prints on the student’s Form I-20. Additional requirements:

  • CPT occurs before the student’s program end date on the Form I-20. 
  • Authorization is for one specific employer and for a specific period.
  • Student must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized.
  • CPT must be authorized before the student can begin work.
  • Student can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time.
  • One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student’s eligibility for OPT.

Learn More


Radhika Kulkarni

Social Media & Enrollment Coordinator

Vatel USA | EduConnect USA

Reviewed by: 

Dr. Rachna Kumar, PhD

Dean, California School of Management and Leadership (CSML)

Alliant International University

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