Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an academic program allowing students to participate in an internship or training required of all students obtaining that particular degree, or employment that is for degree credit and is an integral part of the degree program.
You must have been enrolled in school full-time for two semesters and have maintained F-1 status to be eligible for CPT.
Graduate students in programs that require immediate participation in CPT are exempt from the 9-month in-status requirement.
Students in English Language Programs are not eligible for CPT.
Curricular Practical Training Options
- Required Curricular Practical Training
- Internship or practicum that you MUST complete to earn your degree
- For-Credit Curricular Practical Training
- Earn degree credit for employment in a job that is an integral part of your degree program.
- Cooperative education and some internship programs may fall into this category.
Curricular Practical Training vs. Optional Practical Training
OPT is authorized by Citizenship and Immigration Services allowing student employment in his/her field of study.
CPT is an academic program that provides an employment or training opportunity that is required for the degree, or is an integral part of the degree program. CPT is authorized by International Student and Scholar Services.
CPT for shorter periods of time does not affect your OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect your OPT either. OPT is only affected if you complete one year or more of full-time CPT.
Registering for CPT
- You must register for credits with CPT. You must also register during summer session.
- Consult your academic or graduate advisor to determine the appropriate course in your department with a training component.
- Part-time CPT students (even if you are working up to 20 hours on campus and 20 hours CPT) register as a full-time student.
- Full-time CPT students register as a part-time student.
- Part-time CPT is 20 hours or less per week. Full-time CPT is more than 20 hours per week.
- Students who work on campus for 20 hours a week may also work part-time CPT (20 hours or less).
- The student’s total work hours for each type of employment (on campus and part-time CPT) may not exceed 20 hours while school is in session.
- Please keep in mind, this is only for students who will have part-time CPT.
- This does NOT apply to full-time CPT students.
Internships and Volunteering
- If you receive any compensation, even in-kind compensation including meals, housing, or insurance, USCIS considers this employment compensation.
- If you receive employment compensation, you must apply for CPT.
Application and Authorization
- Discuss academic program with academic advisor to determine whether or not Curricular Practical Training is an integral part of your program.
- Contact the Career Center to speak with an Internship Coordinator to find out about how to obtain employment and credit for your internship.
- Upon receiving job offer, complete forms included in the CPT packet.
- Submit completed packet to International Student and Scholar Services.
- If the position meets the requirements for CPT and you are eligible, ISSS will authorize the CPT on page 2 of a new I-20.
- Failure to remain enrolled in the appropriate course results in illegal employment.
- Remember, you may not begin employment until you have employment authorization.
Begin CPT Employment
Employment begins on the date listed on page 2 of the I-20.
Authorization is specific to a start date, an end date, and a specific employer.
DO NOT begin employment prior to the start date.
DO NOT continue employment after the end date.