Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

F-1 regulations define Curricular Practical Training as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the university.” An International Student Advisor must authorize an F-1 student to participate in a curricular practical training program.

Am I eligible for CPT?

If you are currently in F-1 status and have, at a minimum, been enrolled as a full-time student during the academic year previous to the request, you may be eligible for CPT. Graduate students in programs that require immediate participation in a work experience program are exempt from the academic year full-time enrollment requirement. Students not pursuing a formal degree program (e.g., ELP and Exchange Students) are ineligible for CPT.

What are my options for CPT?
There are two types of CPT:

  1. Required Curricular Practical Training is an internship or practicum that you must complete to earn your degree. Some programs with an internship requirement that fall under the category of required CPT are Hotel & Restaurant Management, Public Administration, and certain tracks in Architecture.
  2. For-credit Curricular Practical Training allows you to earn academic credit toward your degree requirements in a job that is related to your field of study. It may be a required part of your degree program or an elective.
    (You must work with your Academic Advisor/Major Professor in designing a research project that you complete as part of the curricular practical training.)

Number of hours authorized:

  1. Part-time: Most students are eligible for part-time CPT or employment for 20 hours or less per week
  2. Full-time: Students may be eligible for full-time CPT or employment for more than 20 hours per week
    Undergraduate and graduate students with coursework remaining can only participate in full-time CPT during official university breaks (summer, spring and winter breaks). Students may be eligible to do full-time CPT during the regular semester if all coursework, including seminars, is completed.

If you are planning to work on-campus at the same time you are authorized for CPT, please consult with an International Student Advisor.

Length of time authorized:

Because of its unique relationship with the curriculum, there is no limit to the total (aggregate) time CPT may be authorized. However, CPT authorization is on a semester by semester basis.

If I participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), will I lose my opportunity for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after I graduate?

If you have been authorized (in total) for one year or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training, you do not have any remaining Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility. Full-time CPT that has not met (or surpassed) the one year mark does not affect your eligibility for authorization of OPT. Part-time CPT currently does not affect your OPT eligibility.

How do I apply?

You must complete the Application for CPT and submit it to ISSS. You must also have your employer complete the Employer CPT form.

What will the ISSS do?

If the proposed activity meets the requirements for Curricular Practical Training and you are otherwise eligible, ISSS will produce a new I-20 which will indicate your work authorization on page three.

How will my employer know I am authorized to work under CPT?

The I-20 (page three) indicates the dates you are authorized to work for that employer.

If your employer has questions or concerns about hiring international students, please refer them to "What Employers Should Know About Hiring International Students." (This form was developed by the International Career Opportunities Network (ICON).)