Curricular Practical Training is specific work authorization to give F-1 international students permission to work off campus in paid or unpaid positions when the work meets an academic requirement. Sign up for a CPT Seminar or continue reading to learn more about CPT.
CPT is usually used to support a Co-Op, credit-bearing internship, or course requirement. It may also be used for graduate students requiring field experience for their thesis or dissertation.
Students are eligible for CPT after completing one academic year in their program of study. CPT is only applicable to currently enrolled students. For work authorization after graduation, learn more about Optional Practical Training (OPT).
CPT is part time (20 hours or fewer) during the spring and fall semesters. CPT may be full-time (over 20 hours) during the summer or in a student’s final semester with advisor approval. If a student is authorized for full-time CPT, the student must continue to prioritize his or her academic studies and make academic progress toward a degree objective.
Students interested in an off-campus practical training opportunity should attend a CPT Seminar and meet with an ISS advisor for a CPT consultation prior to interviewing for any off-campus position. Eligible students who receive a job offer, should then meet with an ISS advisor to receive CPT authorization at least 2 weeks prior to their anticipated job start date.
CPT is approved through the International Student Services without sending an application to USCIS. There is no fee and the processing time is two weeks. F-1 students are not permitted to begin working without the I-20 showing authorization for Curricular Practical Training. To engage in paid or unpaid work beyond the authorization dates listed on the I-20 is unlawful employment.
To learn more about CPT view the Understanding CPT Powerpoint or attend a CPT Seminar hosted by International Student Services and offered at least once per semester.
To be eligible for CPT, F-1 students must:
- Have completed one academic year of full-time study prior to CPT authorization. If a graduate program requires immediate work authorization, consult an international adviser.
- Receive a training or job offer related to your major area of study.
- Establish a curricular requirement for work authorization.
- Maintain full-time enrollment or receive authorized reduce course load for the semester of CPT.
- Attend a CPT Seminar either in person or view the Understanding CPT powerpoint online.
- Meet with the Office of Cooperative Education and Internship Placement to learn about Co-Op opportunities or talk with your academic department for work-related degree requirements
- Obtain an offer letter from your potential employer. Letter must include name and address of the employer, job description, dates of employment and how many hours per week you will work.
- Meet with your academic, dissertation, or Co-Op advisor to review your job offer to
- Confirm that the work experience is directly related to your course of study
- Establish the academic necessity of your work authorization and
- Complete the advisor portion of the CPT Application.
- Schedule a CPT appointment with an international student advisor. Bring your completed CPT application and job offer letter.
- If you meet all qualifications and have submitted all materials, an international advisor will issue you an updated I-20 and a Social Security request letter, if needed. Allow one to two weeks for OIS to review and issue new I-20 for CPT authorization, if approved.
Deadlines and Timeframe
Start gathering information early to make sure you meet the eligibility for CPT. Then apply for CPT work authorization after you have the job offer and established the academic component.
Submit your application for CPT at least two weeks prior to your first day of work.