Types of Programs of Study

Short-term Academic and Professional Programs

There are many short-term academic and professional development opportunities in the United States. Some programs are based on a university campus and lead to certificates or other formal recognition. Others are within a workplace, such as internships or limited-time work experiences where students and recent graduates can put academic skills into practice. These types of programs enable individuals to experience U.S. culture, but with a shorter time commitment than a full degree program. Some examples include:

  • Exchange programs: These are often connected to university partnerships and designed to fulfill a component of a student’s degree program or completed as an independent study option. If part of a degree program, there is typically close coordination between universities to ensure that students meet program requirements and can transfer academic credits they have earned.
  • Visiting fellow and scholar programs: Individuals from academic institutions outside the United States can participate in these as short-term faculty or researchers at universities or academic institutions in the United States
  • Certificate and executive education programs: Especially for senior-level professionals, these intensive programs are designed to enhance leaders’ skills in specific areas and are typically taught by university faculty members.
  • Internships: University students and recent graduates can gain practical work experience in the United States that complements their specific area of study during or after their university degree program.
  • Optional Training Program (OPT)(https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/students-and-employment): This can be completed by international university students or recent graduates. The OPT is supported through a provision on some types of visa programs. It is important for students to understand the provisions of included in their visa documentation and to make sure they maintain legal status in while in the United States. Through OPT, students gain experience in the United States work force and improve their skills for future employment. Graduates can extend their U.S. visas through participation in this type of program.

More information on exchanges and short-term study opportunities in the United States for individuals across different fields of study and employment sectors can be found at Bridge USA. (https://j1visa.state.gov)