Curricular Practical Training
Current F-1 Students
Curricular practical training (CPT) is only available to F-1 students who have not graduated and who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year (i.e. fall and spring). Full time is defined as at least 12 credits per semester for undergraduates and nine credits per semester for graduate students.
An exception exists only for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training. If your degree program requires you to engage in off-campus employment before you have met the full academic year requirement, please see the international student advisor.
CPT is employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum and is directly related to your major area of study. In other words, you must be enrolled for a course that requires a work experience (such as co-op, internship or practicum) or be enrolled in a degree program that requires an internship/practicum.
CPT is not meant to facilitate the creation of a special employment opportunity. If the primary goal is practical work experience rather than an academic pursuit, you should apply for optional practical training. A department chair or dean must complete the CPT recommendation form to help determine your eligibility for CPT. This type of training requires supervision by a faculty member, enrollment of at least three internship or practicum credits, and must be listed in the academic catalog.
You may be authorized for CPT only one semester at a time. If two consecutive semesters of CPT are desired, you must complete a new application 2-3 weeks before the next CPT period begins. As with any work authorization, you may apply for full-time CPT during an annual vacation period and part-time CPT (no more than 20 hours per week) during an academic semester. You are not eligible for CPT once you have completed all course requirements for your degree, except for graduate students who will be collecting data for a thesis or dissertation.
CPT is not meant to facilitate an employment opportunity and it cannot delay graduation; therefore, CPT is not allowed in the final semester unless you are enrolled in required coursework simultaneously. There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in full-time CPT, but if you participate for 12 months or more, you will not be eligible for optional practical training.
How to Obtain CPT Authorization
Read the instructions and gather all required documents, then email firstname.lastname@example.org for application instructions. If all requirements are met, we will create a new Form I-20 indicating the CPT employment authorization dates, whether full- or part-time, and the name and address of the employer.