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Curricular Practical Training



Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows eligible F-1 students to engage in paid or unpaid internship/learning experience which is related to and is an integral part of the major field of study.
  • CPT employment must be a supervised, temporary position.
  • CPT can be authorized for part-time (less than 20 hours per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.
  • If engaged in a CPT during the Fall and Spring semesters, you must maintain a full course of study. (The exception to this rule:  Students who are in the final semester of study and do not require a full course load to complete; Students engaged in a Thesis or dissertation; students who are engaged in a practicum or clinical work)
  • The CPT is approved term by term and it is recommended that each time a CPT is requested, it be with a different company or a different learning experience in a different department if it’s the same company again; to ensure that you are getting the hands-on experience for each possible career within your Program of study. 
  • CPT eligibility and policies are determined by your academic department
  • Students can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time. However, CPT authorization is needed for each training opportunity.
  • When you enroll at the graduate level, your designated school official (DSO) may authorize CPT during your first semester if your program requires this type of experience. Ask your DSO for details.

Students who are engaged in thesis/dissertation work and have finished their coursework are still eligible for CPT, only if the CPT is an integral part of their thesis/dissertation or research.

CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a detailed training description from your company/employer meeting all criteria.

Information Reference for CPT

PRECONDITIONS: Students must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. An exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training. Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program for two consecutive terms (ESL or EPS).

LOCATION: Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS

DURATION: One semester at a time 
Summer CPT should be initiated well in advance due to the limited availability of supervising professors. 

HOURS PER WEEK: Can be approved part-time ( 20 hours or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours). If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.

FIELD/LEVEL OF WORK: Must be an integral part of an established curriculum. (Program of Study ONLY, not MINOR). The easiest way to demonstrate that it is an established part of the curriculum is to be enrolled in a course called “internship” 

OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT: Must have an offer of employment from the employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training or signed cooperative agreement between the University and the Employer.

EFFECT ON OTHER WORK: Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT. Use of part-time CPT does NOT affect eligibility for OPT

APPROVAL PROCESS: Must receive written authorization from the DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation, before work begins. Plan ahead. CPT authorization takes 1-2 weeks for ISS to process and requires several documents that may take you time to compile.
  • Secure an internship placement at least 4 to 6 weeks before the start of each semester and no later than Add/Drop date. 
  • Meet with your Academic or Faculty Advisor to discuss your CPT plans in detail. Show your advisor the Detailed Training Description, if they believe the training is integral to your curriculum, they may recommend you for CPT by completing the Academic/Faculty Advisor Recommendation part of the CPT application.   Your advisor may also help you enroll in a Registrar Designated CPT course (if applicable).
  • Gain approval for internship employer through Career Development, provide them with the CPT application and the Detailed Training Description.  
  • Complete the CPT Request form and return it to two weeks before the start date, three weeks before the start date if you do not have a Social Security Number.
  • Do not begin the training until the new I-20 bearing the DSO’s (Designated School Official) CPT authorization has been issued and the CPT’s Start Date has been reached.

CPT Eligibility