Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)). It is granted as an integral part of an established curriculum such as internship or practicum for which academic credits are awarded.

Important CPT information

  • Students may not begin the internship before the OISS authorized CPT start date.
  • CPT authorization cannot be backdated. CPT authorization is granted 1 semester at a time. Each semester, including summer, the student must be reauthorized for CPT so that class enrollment may be verified.
  • Courses used for CPT may not be online or distance education courses if it is the only course for the fall or spring semester. A course is considered "online" or "distance education" if it does not require a student's physical attendance in a classroom for classes, exams or "other purposes integral to completion of the class." These courses include those offered "principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission, including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing." (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G))
  • To reauthorize the CPT, student must complete a new online request.
  • International students are exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes for the first five years in the U.S., but are required to pay all federal and state taxes.

Acceptable reasons to apply for CPT

  1. Internship is integral in the research for the student's thesis or dissertation required for program completion
  2. Required of all students in the program to complete their program (copy of program requirements needed for verification)
  3. Required to complete a course in the student's program (copy of course description and Graduate School approved program of study or program requirements needed for verification)

CPT eligibility

  • Enrolled full-time (FT) or have authorization to be enrolled part-time (PT) for one continuous academic year.
  • Internship must be in the current major. Not eligible for minor programs.
  • Must enroll in at least 1 credit of internship, independent study or other academic course. Fall or spring enrollment may be used for wintermester CPT requests.
  • Must maintain FT enrollment or have authorization for PT enrollment during CPT.

Full- or part-time CPT options

  • Semester breaks. CPT may be used FT (more than 20 hours per week).
  • Regular academic semester (fall and spring semesters). CPT may only be used PT (20 hours or less per week), unless a student qualifies for an exception as listed below.
  • Exception. Students in their last semester may be eligible for FT CPT or may split 40 hours per week between CPT and on-campus employment if they satisfy the following requirements. Talk to an OISS advisor for further clarification.
    • OISS will need a memo from the Academic Advisor verifying that the student is in their last semester and that the internship is required for program completion.
    • Must have completed all required coursework except for thesis/dissertation/independent study.
    • Must have applied for graduation.
    • May only by used once per major.
  • Students who have FT CPT for 12 months or more forfeit post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the current education level.
  • PT CPT does not count towards the 12 months limit, i.e. after 12 months of PT CPT, the student is still eligible for 12 months of post-completion OPT.

How to apply for Curricular Practical Training

  • Step 1: Secure a signed and dated offer letter from your employer on company letterhead
    1. Secure a signed and dated offer letter from your employer on their company letterhead clearly stating the required information below:
      • The position title
      • Position description
      • Start and end dates (if no end date listed, CPT authorization will be until the end of the semester)
      • Number of hours of work per week
      • Location of employment
  • Step 2: Complete CPT form and get recommendation from Academic Advisor

    Complete the CPT Form and get a recommendation from your Academic Advisor.

    • If using exception: memo from the Academic Advisor verifying that the student is in their last semester and that the internship is required for program completion.
    • Upload any supporting documents for the selected CPT reason into the application.
  • Step 3: Enroll in class

    Enroll in the class corresponding to CPT as noted on the advisor's recommendation form.

  • Step 4: Schedule a CPT appointment with Office of International Students and Scholars

    Schedule an appointment for CPT at OISS. Bring items 1 and 2 above to the appointment. The OISS advisor will review your documents and will authorize CPT in SEVIS if everything is in order. You will receive a new I-20 with page 2 listing the CPT details. This constitutes your CPT approval which you need to show to the employer. You cannot start CPT until you receive the I-20 with CPT approval and the start date is effective.