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.
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.
- You must have been lawfully enrolled as an F-1 student for a minimum of one full academic year.
- Must be in F-1 status at the time of submitting the CPT application.
- Must be enrolled in a course or program which requires the off-campus training experience.
- You must have a training offer that qualifies for CPT prior to applying for the off-campus training.
- CPT may be paid or unpaid.
- CPT start and end dates must be within the dates of the academic course or experience to which it relates.
- CPT may be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours). If you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you become ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the same educational level.
- All requests for CPT must be received and approved before the start of your practical training.
- Students may only begin the off-campus training on or after the CPT start date on their updated I-20.
- CPT authorization is employer/program specific and for the designated period of time only. Any work that you engage in outside of your dates of approved CPT will be considered unauthorized employment.
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. If you are enrolled in a course that requires an off-campus experience, CPT can only be issued at the time you are enrolled in the course. CPT will not be approved if the course has already been completed, or if you will enroll in the course in a future term of study.
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 seven to 10 work days before an approval is issued. Please review the CPT application checklist, to ensure you have all needed documentation before starting your CPT application.
Note: If you plan to enroll in the Fieldwork Course, the CPT application is part of the enrollment application. Please find more information about the Fieldwork Enrollment Application on the CPT Applications page.
The CPT application process involves the following departments and individuals:
- Obtaining the offer letter from the company or organization. Internship/Fieldwork Offer Letter Guidelines can be found here
- Requesting the CPT Recommendation Form from the course instructor (except the Fieldwork course)
- Submitting the CPT application form containing all required documentation.
Provides the student with an offer letter for which CPT is being requested. The letter from the employer needs to be on company letterhead and provide information needed to approve the off-campus training request (see the Student section for the Internship/Fieldwork Offer Letter Guidelines.)
Responsible for completing the CPT Recommendation Form and providing it to the student for their CPT application. This form provides a confirmation to ISSS that the student is enrolled in a course that requires the off-campus experience.
Note: The Fieldwork Enrollment Application does not require the CPT Recommendation Form.
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
Reviews CPT application and supporting documentation submitted by student.
Upon approval, will print I-20 with CPT authorization for student.
Student will receive an email from ISSS once the I-20 has been issued, along with information about how to maintain status while engaging in off-campus training.