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Change of Level Requirements

The instructions below are for F-1 students who are finishing (or have recently finished) one program at Tufts and then continuing in a Tufts new program at a higher degree level. An example would be a student completing a bachelor's degree program who will then continue to study in a master's degree program. This is considered a change of level situation.

A change of level applies only if you are staying at the same college/university but continuing studies at a different educational level. If you are finishing your Tufts program but continuing studies at another college or university, follow the F-1 Transfer Out instructions instead.*

*In certain cases, Tufts students moving from one Tufts campus to another (e.g., from Medford to Boston) may be treated as a transfer instead. Consult with the International Center for more details.

Eligibility and Deadlines

If this situation applies to you, must obtain a new change of level I-20. You are eligible for a change of level I-20 if:

  • You are currently in valid F-1 status and are completing a Tufts degree program (or are completing post-completion Optional Practical Training based on your Tufts program)
  • You have been admitted to a new program at Tufts and the new program will start in the next available term following completion of studies (e.g., if you are completing in the spring semester your new program will start in the following fall semester)
  • You apply for your new I-20 within the deadlines indicated below

You must apply for your new change of level I-20 within 45 days after completing your first program (or completing post-completion Optional Practical Training based on your first program). This will allow time for the International Center to prepare a new Change of Level I-20 for you. If you do not submit the change of level application to the International Center and more than sixty (60) days has passed since you completed your first program, you will not be eligible for a Change of Level I-20. Instead, you must depart the US and return using a new initial attendance I-20, and pay a new I-901 SEVIS fee.

Change of Level I-20 Request Procedure

Employment Between Levels

Off-Campus Employment for May Graduates

During the summer between education levels, you have the option to apply for OPT. You can apply for OPT based on your current degree level for authorization to work off campus. Be aware that you will only be able to use about 3 months of the work authorization and will not be able to use the remaining months after you switch to a higher degree level. You should apply for OPT early (90 days before your program end date) to maximize the OPT authorization, as it can take USCIS several months to approve your OPT authorization. If you use OPT over the summer, we will change the education level on your I-20 at the end of the summer, and this will end your OPT authorization.

CPT is not an option during the summer between education levels, as you are not an active student.

On-Campus Employment for All Graduates

You can work on campus between education levels only after you have received your new change of level I-20. You cannot work on campus during your 60-day grace period hence you will need to request your new I-20 before or soon after the completion of your first degree level.