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Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program for which the work counts toward course credit. The US Department of Homeland Security regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be “an important part of an established curriculum.” They define curricular practical training as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in situations where the work serves as an important part of a student’s academic program, prior to completion of that program.

Eligibility

  • The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. 
  • An exception exists for graduate students if a graduate program requires immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment. 
  • CPT is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program.
  • If the student had a gap in study or a status violation, the one academic year waiting period may need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status.
  • Students in English Language programs are not eligible for CPT.

Criteria

The Office of International Services can authorize CPT only after the student has received approval from their respective academic department, if it can be clearly documented that the proposed employment meets one of the two conditions below:

  1. The training employment is required of all degree candidates in the program and is necessary for the awarding of the degree.  Included in this category is employment for a course specifically designed to award academic credit for employment experience.
  2. The training employment is directly related to student’s current academic curriculum.  You must be concurrently enrolled in a course and complete the criteria indicated by faculty advisor during the period that you are working under CPT authorization, even in the summer.

If CPT is for your last semester, you must have at least one other remaining degree-required course for which to register, in addition to the CPT course, unless the CPT course is the degree-required course.

 

Part-Time vs. Full-Time

Part-Time Training

During the school year while classes are in session, students can engage in CPT on a part-time basis, limited to no more than 20 hours per week. If eligible, there is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training, but you must be maintaining lawful F-1 status and gain approval each semester.

Full-Time Training

A student can engage in full-time CPT during official University breaks and vacation.  Full-time CPT allows the student to work more than 20 hours per week.  Please Note:  If you participate in 50 weeks or more of FULL-TIME curricular practical training, you will not be eligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

 

Application and Documentation Requirements

To apply for CPT, you must meet with an ISS advisor and bring the following documents with you:

  • Copy of your official job offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. A photocopy is acceptable.  The letter should include the employer’s name, address and dates of employment.
  • A CPT Recommendation Form completed and approved by your Academic Department (Chair, Graduate Coordinator or Academic Advisor). This form can be obtained at the International Services Office.
  • Proof of registration for CPT course you are earning academic credit for the training.  Note:  You must be registered for the CPT course in the same semester during which the work will be done.

Authorization Procedures

If you are eligible and have the documentation required for CPT an ISS advisor will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20 detailing the employment. You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization.  

This work authorization is valid only for the specific employer, location, time period and on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by an ISS advisor as evidenced on your I-20 issued for CPT.

You may not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension from ISS. To begin work or work past the dates of CPT approval, would be a violation of your nonimmigrant student status.