Bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree candidates who have completed all course requirements for their degree except for a thesis, dissertation, or equivalent requirement may either apply for pre-completion OPT or post-completion OPT while completing the thesis/dissertation.

 

Pre-completion OPT

Post-completion OPT

May request either part time or full time work

May work full time.

Not eligible for the cap-gap extension of OPT

Eligible for the cap-gap extension of OPT

May not apply for the STEM extension from a period of pre-completion OPT

May apply for the STEM extension if otherwise eligible

Not subject to the 90-day unemployment provisions

Subject to the 90-day unemployment provisions

May receive a program extension

Not eligible for a program extension

The application process is  the same. Do not submit your application to the USCIS until you have received an updated "OPT" I-20 from ISSS.