Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo

Office of International Services

TC Departments > Hiring International Students

Hiring International Students

International students at TC are mostly on the F-1 or J-1 visa status. They are subject to USCIS government regulations which restrict the types of employment they can accept and number of hours per week they can work. We hope the following guidelines will be useful to you when you are considering hiring an international student in F-1 or J-1 status.  Please feel free to contact the Office of International Services (OIS) if you have any questions at tcintl@tc.columbia.edu or 212-678-3939.

Note: The following information applies to F-1 and J-1 students at Teachers College.  If you would like to hire a TC student that is in another visa status such as H-1, L-2, G-4, A-2, etc., please consult the Human Resources for employment verification. 

To sponsor a foreign faculty or to pay honorarium, please see TC Hiring and Paying Foreign Nationals policy.

International Students Employment Eligibility and the One-semester Waiting Period

International students are eligible for GA, RA, TA, fellowships and/or interim positions. International Students are not eligible for Work-Study or Full-time appointments when school is in session.  They are only eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the autumn and spring semesters.  If the student has more than one on-campus job, the combined hours cannot exceed 20 hours per week.  During summer and other vacation periods, students are eligible for full-time on-campus employment. 

Generally speaking there is a one-semester waiting period for on-campus employment for international students who are new to the U.S. higher education system.  This is a TC policy set to ensure that students have sufficient time to adjust to their new environment and to the academic expectations here at TC.  Students who have previously completed a degree in the U.S. may be allowed to work on campus during their first semester after they have checked in with the OIS, attended a mandatory Visa Orientation session, and have enrolled full-time.

On-campus Employment Authorization

International students must obtain employment authorization from the Office of International Services prior to the start date of the employment. Employment authorization is granted based on the individual student’s eligibility.  Student may accept a job through the TC online hiring process pending HR/OIS authorization. Human Resources will notify the student when the post-hire process has been completed and that the student may begin employment.

Student may be authorized to work on campus from their first or second term up till the final term they are completing their degree. Students who are in their last term of studies may only be authorized to work till the term ends. For example, if a student will complete degree in May, the student may only work till May. Student may still be paid in June for work performance in May. The last date of any on-campus employment must end by Spring term college term end date.

Student with additional employment authorization from USCIS or OIS may be eligible to continue their on-campus employment under the Optional Patricidal Training (F1) or Academic Training (J1). New HR/OIS approval may be required to continue. 

Social Security Number for International students

If the student does not have a SSN#, OIS will assist the student to apply for a SSN upon approving the on-campus employment.  The student will need a letter from the hiring department to bring to the SSA office. For an example of the letter, please click on this: Sample Department letter for On-campus Employment

Advising International Students on Registration

As per government regulations international students in F-1 and J-1 status must be registered full time (at least 12 credits) every autumn and spring semester in order to maintain their visa status unless granted prior authorization from the OIS for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).  Note: International students are NOT required to be registered during the summer unless it is an academic requirement for their program.

Full-time Registration

Full-time registration requirements may be met in any of the following ways:
1)    Full-time Coursework: Registration  for 12 points/credits of coursework

2)    Registration for certain advanced doctoral / dissertation advisement courses, including:
•    Dissertation Advisement 8900 or 8901
•    Clinical Psychology Internship CCPX 6430
•    Counseling Psychology Internship CCPX 6460
•    School Psychology Internship HBSK 6480

3)    Full-time Equivalency: Registration for the equivalent of 12 points by filing a Certificate of Equivalency (COE).  The COE must be approved by both the academic advisor and the Registrar by the end of the add / drop period (two weeks after classes begin), such that the total number of coursework and equivalency points equals 12.

On-Line / Distance Education

During the autumn / spring semesters, no more than one on-line/distance education class (for a maximum of 3 credits) per semester may be counted toward the full course of study requirement. An on-line/distance education class is defined as one which does not require physical attendance at Teachers College to complete the course.

TC Departments




Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: