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Curricular Practical Training


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be "an integral 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 integral part of a student's academic program, prior to completion of that program.

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 whose programs require immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment. It is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program. Students in English language programs are not eligible for CPT. 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.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

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.

Full-Time Training 
A student can engage in full-time CPT during Official University breaks and vacation. A PhD student can also engage in full-time CPT during his /her dissertation and CPT authorization ends when the student defends dissertation. Full-time CPT allows the student to work more than 20 hours per week. If you participate in 12 months 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 bring the following document with you:

  • Copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. A photocopy is acceptable. The letter should include the employer’s name, full address, dates of employment, and duties.

Authorization Procedures
If you are eligible and have the documentation required for CPT, the Coordinator for International Student Services (C-ISS) will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20.  You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization from C-ISS. 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 C-ISS 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 of your permission to work from C-ISS. To do so would be a violation of your nonimmigrant student status, and such violation would jeopardize your ability to remain in the U.S.