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
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.
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:
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.