Office of International Programs and Services

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a means under which international students can gain work experience that is considered an integral part of an established curriculum. Therefore, CPT can only be authorized before the completion of an academic program. CPT must begin at the start of the semester and be completed by the end of the semester. An F-1 student can obtain CPT authorization in the following situations:

  • The student must have been in lawful status as a full-time student for one full academic year unless a graduate program requires an immediate CPT experience.
  • Students pursuing CPT during a regular academic term must be enrolled full-time for academic credit, regardless of whether the employment is full-time or part-time.
  • The training (employment) must be directly related to the student’s field of study and commensurate with the student’s educational level.
  • The training must be a requirement of the program of study (internship to meet the requirement of graduation) and receive course credit. (NOTE: not all programs offer internships, so check with your academic advisor.)
  • The training may be full-time or part-time. If full-time (more than 20 hours per week) for 12 months (or more) the student is not eligible for Option Practical Training.
  • During vacation periods, students receiving CPT authorization may need only to enroll part-time for academic credit, depending on whether the training is required or optional.

CPT Application 

Curricular Practical Training (application) documentation includes:

  1. Letter from employer on letterhead
  2. Dates of employment (start and end)
  3. Full- or part-time status (number of hours per week to be worked)
  4. Address of employer
  5. Specified duties and tasks of internship
  6. New I-20 with CPT issued by SEVIS Coordinator
    NOTE: An Extension of the program if necessary can be made.
  7. Letter/photocopy of course selection in catalog

IPS and the SEVIS Coordinator require at least (2) weeks to evaluate the application for CPT. Once IPS has the letter from the employer and the student’s academic advisor--necessary to register for an internship course--the SEVIS Coordinator can issue a revised I-20 indicating the CPT approval. There is no application fee. Students must turn in a completed application at least (2) weeks before employment commences.

CPT does not deduct time from OPT, but keep in mind that students who work full-time for twelve months (or more) under CPT lose the eligibility for any Optional Practical Training.

Students may not start working until all requirements for CPT have been completed and have received authorization from the SEVIS Coordinator. If a student begins work before this authorization has occurred, the student will be terminated from the SEVIS system and will be out of status.

Office of Web Services