Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Through Curricular Practical Training (CPT), an F-1 student may participate in an alternate work/study, internship or cooperative education program as part of their curriculum.

CPT is defined to include any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. {8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)}

Requirements

In order for the International Program Center to authorize CPT, you must:

  • Submit a letter (or email) from your academic advisor. The letter must: mention your particular educational program and explain why the employment described in your job offer letter is an “integral part” of your program (e.g., contributes to research for a course assignment or thesis/dissertation, enhances your professional training and preparation in your field).
  • Specify how many hours of internship credit you will receive in conjunction with the employment.
  • Submit a job offer letter from your employer, which must be on the employer’s letterhead (including name and address) and specify your job title, briefly describe the work you will do, and specify the dates of your employment and the number of hours per week you will work.
  • Register for an internship or practicum credit(s) that counts towards your major/program of study during the semester you are doing CPT. You must work with your advisor to make sure the credits will apply to your program of study/degree requirements. Electives viewed as unnecessary courses that would prolong the degree attainment are not appropriate for applying for CPT.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been in F-1 status for one full academic year (nine months)
  • Be in good academic standing

If you change employers, or change from part-time to full-time employment or vice versa, you need to re-apply for CPT permission.

Beginning to work before CPT is authorized, or continuing to work after the authorization expires, constitutes a violation of F-1 status.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Any F-1 student who undertakes 12 months of full-time CPT (that is, 21 or more hours per week) is ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion of studies. Part-time CPT (20 hours or fewer per week) is not counted against OPT.

CPT is not available to students who are returning to begin a second degree after a period of OPT unless the established curriculum requires immediate participation in CPT.

Reduced Course Load

If you have ever been enrolled as a part-time student, you must have an “Reduced Course load Form” on file for the semester(s) you were under-enrolled. Otherwise, CPT cannot be authorized.

Students undertaking part-time CPT are required to be enrolled full time or to have a current “Reduced Course load Form” on file.