Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows an F-1 student to be engaged in work experience that is considered an integral part of an established curriculum or academic program.
The Code of Federal Regulations defines CPT as “an integral part of an established curriculum" and 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." 8 CFR §214.2 (f) (10)(i)
In order for any CPT request to be considered, the alternate work/study, internship, or cooperative education must be required by the curriculum, or the student must be receiving credit for the training.
In order for an F-1 student to be eligible for CPT, the following requirements must be met:
Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e., two full consecutive terms). If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived.
Be in F-1 status at the time of submitting the CPT application.
Have a job offer and offer letter.
Be enrolled in a program or course that requires an internship.
Types of Curricular Practical Training
CPT may be required for a degree program or a course for which the student is enrolled. Please see below for additional details about each.
If your degree program requires an internship or culminating experience in order to complete the degree, then you are eligible to apply for CPT during your program of study.
Certain courses may require an internship or practicum as part of the curriculum. To apply for CPT if required by a course, the following must be met:
Student must be enrolled for the course at the time of applying for CPT.
CPT must take place during the term that the course is offered.
CPT will be approved only for the semester, or for the duration of the course (whichever is shorter).
CPT Approval Process
ISSS encourages you to begin the process as soon as possible. Students are encouraged to submit all documentation in a timely manner prior to their requested CPT start date. From the time a completed application is submitted, it can take up to seven to 10 work days before a decision is made on the application. Please review the CPT application checklist, which includes access to the application. The CPT application process involves the following departments and individuals:
Responsible for submitting the CPT application form and providing the required supporting documentation for the request.
Provides the student with an offer letter for which CPT is being requested. Students can provide the company with this Employer Letter Template. The letter from the employer needs to be on company letterhead, be signed by the person writing the letter, and provide the following information:
Beginning and end dates of employment—keep in mind that CPT can only be authorized one semester at a time.
Specify full-time or part-time employment. If part time, the letter should state the number of hours per week.
Description of job responsibility—this should be specific to show how this opportunity relates to your degree and provides information that will allow your course instructor to write a support letter.
Location where work will take place.
Responsible for completing the recommendation form for CPT. This form provides a confirmation to the international student advisor that the requested internship or work experience is an integral part of the student's degree program or course.
International Student Advisor
Reviews CPT application and supporting documentation submitted by student. Upon approval, will print I-20 with CPT authorization for student.