Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as alternative 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 school.
This is authorized by the Designated School Official (DSOs are in the International Student Care Offices) and must be:
- An integral part of an established curriculum: In order for training to be considered “required” all students in the degree program must be required to complete an internship or practicum in order to receive their degree.
- Directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program: If the internship is not required, then it MUST be taken for academic credit. The student and the advisor will need to note the appropriate course number on the CPT Authorization Form and the student must show the International Student Care Offices proof of enrollment. If the internship takes place in the summer, students can either enroll for an internship credit or connect CPT to a relevant class being take that semester or the upcoming fall semester.
CPT can be either part time (20 hours or less) or full time (over 20 hours a week) while school is in session or during vacation periods.
CPT Eligibility Requirements
- Eligible for CPT after completion of 2 semesters of full time study (one academic year).
Exception: Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participate in an internship may apply at any time.
- F-1 students who are requesting full time CPT during the academic year must maintain full time status. Students may not take a reduced course load and then apply for full-time CPT.
- When a program requires that all students who are done with course work proceed to an internship semester or year.
- When a student is in his/her last semester before graduation.
- Students who are approved for a reduced course load and are applying for part-time CPT will be considered on a case by case basis.
NOTE: CPT will NOT be granted to students who have finished their program requirements and who are merely delaying graduation to make use of CPT. Work authorization after completing one’s program will require applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) which is adjudicated by the USCIS.
Additional Information about CPT
- Student MUST have a signed, written offer of employment on the employers’ letterhead or a signed cooperative agreement to apply for CPT (refer to Applying for CPT for details about offer letter requirements).
- Off campus non-paid internships require CPT authorization by the International Student Care Offices.
- Part time CPT is defined as working 20 hours or less per week and does not affect Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility. Full time CPT is defined as working more than 20 hours per week. If you accumulate 12 months (consecutive) or more of full time CPT authorization, you will NOT be eligible for OPT.
- If you change employers while on CPT or will work for more than one employer at a time, you need to file a new CPT application. CPT is employer specific, that is, you can only work for the company that is listed on your 1-20.
NOTE: Music students with multiple ‘gigs’ should consult with the International Student Care Offices
- You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your 1-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue working after the end date. If you expect that you will need to work past your program end date, you MUST apply for a program extension and reapply for CPT to be approved. If you work before you are authorized or past the authorized CPT end date, you will be working illegally and could lose future immigration benefits.
- The International Student Care offices, CANNOT authorize CPT with a start date in the past. Please submit all completed paperwork at least 7 to 10 days in advance of the day you wish to being working.
- The International Student Care offices will only authorize CPT for one semester at a time unless you are in a required internship program that extends beyond the semester. Students must reapply by completing all necessary steps in the process for each semester that they will work on CPT.