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I see that in some US universities, F-1 PhD students are required to have completed their coursework in order to be eligible for Full-time, out-of-vacation pre-completion F1 Optional Practical Training (OPT):

Stanford:

Ph.D. students who have completed their coursework (except for thesis) are eligible for full-time employment during the academic term.

MIT:

Students may apply for pre-completion OPT after completion of all course requirements but before completion of dissertation/thesis.

Is that a legal requirement, or do those Universities simply add more requirements on top of US immigration rules?

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This is a legal requirement. During the course of your studies you can work for up to 20 hours on campus.

You can have internships as part of CPT (which comes from the same time quota as the OPT). Universities don't have to allow internships.

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