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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 students who have employment or internships as part of their degree requirement must be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The Career Center handles all CPT applications and training for interested students.

  • CPT is authorized by a DSO (Lauren Johns to file your paperwork.

What is CPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized off-campus employment which is integral to your major and the experience must be part of your curriculum. CPT is a type of internship or off-campus employment permission for F-1 international students who are currently pursuing a program of study in the U.S. It allows students to gain experience in their field of study and is directly connected to the program’s curriculum.  CPT is only available prior to the completion of your degree program. You must have a job offer at the time of your CPT application. CPT employment may not delay completion of your academic program.

Who is eligible for CPT

To be eligible for CPT you must be enrolled in a major program of study that has an internship experience course built into the curriculum and you must meet the following additional criteria:

  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have approved health insurance
  • Have a job offer
  • Be enrolled full-time (9 credit hours per semester for graduate students; 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduate students)
    • Exception: If you are enrolled in your final semester of coursework
  • Cannot be enrolled in an Intensive English Program (IEP)

When can I take CPT

  • In order to be eligible to obtain employment authorization for CPT, you must have completed one full year of academic study and currently be in lawful F-1 status.
  • CPT applications must be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of each semester
    • CPT applications are accepted at the beginning of fall, spring, and summer semesters
      • CPT can begin no sooner than the first day of the academic semester
      • CPT can end no later than the last day of the academic semester
    • CPT must be directly related to your major field of study
      • You are required to register for an internship specific course for academic credit and must continue to register for the course during each semester to be eligible to continue working.

Part-time vs. Full-time CPT

Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Though there is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT, you must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

Full-time CPT: (summer semester only) Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Academic Requirements

  • Registration in the CPT/Internship specific course
  • Complete continuing update reports with your academic advisor/professor throughout your CPT experience as required by your CPT/Internship specific course
  • Complete final project to submit by the final end date of your CPT experience
  • Maintain above a 3.0 GPA

Documents Needed to Apply

  • CPT Request Form
  • Copy of the job offer letter from your employer with the following information:
    • Written on the company’s letterhead
    • Addressed to you
    • Include the job title
    • Include the job description
    • Specify the employment address
    • State if the position is full- or part-time (number of hours included)
    • Specify the exact dates of employment
  • Copy of your current I-20
  • Printed out copy of I-94

How to Apply for CPT

Applications available in the Career Center, Andorfer Commons, Suite 229.

*After receiving your job offer letter, follow the below steps in order: The application deadline is 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Late applications WILL NOT be accepted.

  • Fill out Part 1 and Part 2 of the CPT Request Form
  • Gather all required documents needed to apply (see Documents Needed to Apply section of this packet)
  • Schedule an appointment with Lauren Johns in the Career Center to review all documents
  • Upon approval from the Career Center-Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to complete Part 3 of the CPT Request Form
  • Submit all completed documents to Lauren Johns in the Career Center
  • Pick up your new I-20 from the Career Center (this will take approximately 3-5 business days- you will receive an email notification once your I-20 is available for pick-up)

You cannot begin work until you have receive your new I-20 with authorized work dates.

Continuing CPT

CPT must be authorized for each academic semester and only certain programs allow for consecutive CPT. In order to continue CPT for consecutive semesters, approval from the academic program, a new CPT request form, along with steps 1-6 above must be completed and approved. You will also be required to register for the internship specific course and will be responsible for payment of the additional credit hours each time you wish to engage in CPT. Remember-full time employment for 12 or more months will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).