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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. CPT is not for supplemental training experience, it should be part of an established curriculum, meaning that it is a required part of the degree or program of study.
  • Enrolled full-time (FT) or have authorization to be enrolled part-time (PT) for one continuous academic year or internship required of all students in the program within the first year.
  • Must maintain FT enrollment or have authorization for PT enrollment during CPT.
  • Internship must be for the current major.
    • Not eligible for minor programs.
  • Must enroll in at least 1 credit of internship, independent study or other academic course corresponding to the internship.
    • Fall or spring enrollment may be used for wintermester CPT requests.
  • Students starting a program after post-completion OPT must meet the above enrollment requirement to be eligible for CPT.

Important 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 each semester, student must complete a new online request.
  • International students are exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes for the first 5 years in the U.S., but are required to pay all federal and state taxes.


Acceptable Reasons to Apply for CPT

Work with your academic advisor to ensure the required supporting documents are submitted to avoid delays in your CPT application.
  • Internship is integral in the research for the student's thesis or dissertation required for program completion.
    • Must be enrolled in a thesis or dissertation course.
  • Required of ALL students in the program to complete their program.
    • Submit a copy of program requirements for verification. The selected class must not be an elective.
  • Required to complete a course in the student's program. Work with your academic advisor for them to submit the following:
    • Graduate students: submit either the Graduate School approved program of study, course handbook, or course catalog outlining the program requirements.
    • Undergraduate students: submit your academic requirements highlighting the selected course as a requirement for your completion.

Full-Time or Part-Time CPT Options:

  • Employment is limited to a total of 20 hours per week (on- and off-campus combined) during fall and spring semesters.
  • 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.
    • Must have completed all required coursework except for thesis/dissertation/independent study.
    • Must have applied for graduation.
    • May only by used once per major.
    • If you will terminate any other employment, including assistantship, for 40 hours per week of CPT, submit your Workday job overview or a memo from your employer verifying the employment will be terminated before the CPT start date.
      • Students working on campus must submit their Workday job overview in their profile.
    • Your Academic Advisor must provide a memo or comment in their electronic recommendation verifying that:
      • you are in your last semester,
      • you have completed all required coursework except for thesis/dissertation/independent study, and
      • the internship is REQUIRED for program completion.
    • OISS may ask for other evidence to support your application as needed.
  • 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

  1. Secure an offer letter from your employer on their company letterhead. If your letter does not have the information below, your CPT will not be approved.
    • Signed and dated 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
      • A statement agreeing to cooperate with the school in achieving the curricular purposes of the employment/training.
        • If your department already has an agreement with the CPT employer, you may submit this in place of the statement in the offer letter.
        • If they have an established offer letter and cannot add the agreement statement to it, they may issue another signed and dated letter on letterhead with the statement.
  2. Complete the CPT Application Form and get a recommendation from your Academic Advisor.
    • New CPT Application - DO NOT create a new application if you already started another application.
    • Existing CPT Application - Login to continue an existing application you have not yet submitted.
    • You will add your Academic Advisor's information in the CPT Application for them to get an email to submit a recommendation for you
    • 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 such as proof of employment termination if applying for 40 hours of CPT during fall or spring.
  3. Enroll in the class corresponding to CPT as noted on the Advisor's Recommendation form.
  4. Schedule an appointment for CPT with an OISS advisor.
  5. 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.
    • During remote operations, the OISS advisor will email you the CPT I-20 with a digital signature. Once normal operations resume, you may come in to the office to pick up your I-20.