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 US government allows F-1 students to participate even though that status does not normally permit off-campus employment.  You must remain enrolled in the internship course for the duration of your training and CPT is only allowed during the duration of the course.  If you drop the course, your CPT becomes invalid.

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

  • You must have a training position offer to apply for CPT because the authorization is position specific. You may not change your training position 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 training/employment.
  • CPT is authorized for specific dates. These dates must coincide with the start and end dates of the course for which CPT is fulfilling the requirement. You may not begin training/working before the start date or continue training/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 training/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).

Steps to Obtain CPT Authorization

  1. Register for a course in your program of study that has an internship component.
  2. Talk with your instructor or academic advisor 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 (must coincide with the semester dates of the internship course)
    • The address of where the training will occur
    • Signature of your supervisor and on official company letterhead
  4. Log in to iStart using your Net ID and password. Click on the Curricular Practical Training Form:
  • Complete e-form
  • Upload training/job offer letter from your supervisor with the required information
  • List your instructor or academic advisor who you have already spoken with about your internship

5.  A Designated School Official (DSO) will then contact you via email once your new I-20 has been processed and is ready to be picked up