Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is training (internships, practicums, etc.) expected of all students who are completing a specific program of study. Because it is part of the educational program, the U.S. government allows F-1 students to participate even though that status does not normally permit off-campus employment.

While participating in CPT, you must continue to enroll in a full course of study and otherwise maintain your status.

  • You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT because the authorization is employer specific. You may not change your employer without obtaining a new CPT authorization.
  • The number of hours you are allowed to work while on CPT is determined by your educational program requirements.
  • Part-time CPT authorization is 20 hours per week or less. Full-time CPT is over 20 hours.
  • You may use as much CPT authorization as is required for your degree program. However, if you accumulate 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, you are no longer eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.
  • Curricular Practical Training authorization on Page 2 of your form I-20 is sufficient for you to accept employment.
  • CPT is authorized for specific dates of employment. You may not begin working before the start date or continue working after the end date.

Curricular Practical Training Eligibility:

  • You must be in F-1 status at the time you apply and must have been a full-time student for one academic year preceding the CPT application. Graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in internship/practical training may apply at any time.
  • The work must be necessary to fulfill course/class requirements and must be required of all students taking the course.
  • The course must be an integral part of the established curriculum, (i.e., required for the degree program, a necessary component of the degree plan, earning credit for the degree program).

Students interested in obtaining authorization for CPT should:

  1. Register for a course in your program of study that has an internship component.
  2. Talk with your instructor about the kind of placement that will fulfill the requirements of the course.
  3. Request from the prospective supervisor a letter describing the work/training that you will do.  The letter from the supervisor should be on official letterhead, signed by your supervisor, and must include the following:
    • A description of the work/training to be performed
    • The start and end dates of training
    • Your salary, if any
    • The address of where the training will occur
  4. Take the letter to your academic advisor, along with the CPT Form (PDF) and obtain your advisor’s signature.
  5. Bring the following to the Office of International Student Services to apply for CPT:
    • passport and visa
    • Form I-94
    • Form I-20
    • CPT Form
    • Letter from your supervisor as described above
  6. Obtain a new Form I-20 showing the CPT authorization to show to your supervisor