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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.
    • Graduate students exception to one year requirement - internship must be 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 a course required for program completion corresponding to the internship. Could be at least 1 credit of internship, independent study or other academic course.
    • Fall or spring enrollment may be used for wintermester CPT requests.
    • Summer enrollment: you may enroll for the whole summer or for the first or second session only as long as you are enrolled in a class when the CPT starts.
  • Students starting a program after post-completion OPT must meet the above enrollment requirement to be eligible for CPT.
    • Note, there could be additional scrutiny from USCIS if you apply for a future change of status if you continue CPT employment for an employer you had for OPT.

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.
    • A course used for CPT in the fall or spring semester may not be an online or distance education course if it is the only course a student is taking that 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.
  • Internship required to complete a course in the student's program, including required electives. Work with your academic advisor for them to submit the following to show that the course is required for your program completion:
    • Graduate students: submit either the Graduate School approved program of study, course handbook, or course catalog outlining the program requirements.
      • If you have an approved program of study, this must be submitted with the selected class listed as one of the courses for the requested term.
    • 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 maximum of total of 40 hours per week (on- and off-campus combined) during fall and spring semesters.
    • 20 hours maximum allowed for CPT during fall and spring semesters.
    • If you have any graduate assistantship, we will need an approval letter (signed, dated, and on letterhead) from the employing department for the additional employment since the Graduate School cautions against additional employment.
    • NOTE: if a student works more than 20 hours per week and fails a class, they will not be authorized for more than 20 hours combined employment during the fall and spring semester until they can show satisfactory academic progress.
  • Semester breaks (summer, winter, and spring) - CPT may be used FT (more than 20 hours per week) even if you have FT or PT on-campus employment.
  • Regular academic semester (fall and spring semesters) - CPT may only be used PT (20 hours or less per week), unless a student meets any of these exceptions:
    • Program requirement: some programs require students to have FT internship, in this case, students may be eligible for FT CPT during fall and spring semesters, consult with an OISS advisor. An explanation of the requirement from your program advisor will be required;
    • Last semester: students in their last semester may be eligible for FT CPT in addition to on-campus employment if they satisfy the following requirements:
      • must be in their last semester;
      • must have applied for graduation;
      • may only by used once per major;
      • your Academic Advisor must provide a comment in their electronic recommendation verifying that:
        • you are in your last semester,
        • 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. Agreement: CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from an employer ( in the absence of a formal agreement.
    • If the employer is listed as a community partner and the partnership has not expired, an agreement is not required. Upload the name of the employer in the community partners list.
    • If the department/University has a formal agreement with the CPT employer, you may submit a copy of the agreement.
      • Refer to For-credit internship process for faculty and staff for University agreement information.
      • If there is no formal agreement, the employer may add a statement to the offer letter that they "agree to cooperate with the school in achieving the curricular purposes of the employment/training."
        • 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 or they can email to the OISS advisor.
  2. 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:
      • 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
      • Employer's address
      • Address for the location of employment if not working at the employer's address
      • Agreement statement (in offer letter or email) if there is no formal agreement with the department/University or they are not on the community partners list (refer to item 1).
  3. Login using your NetID to complete the CPT Application request and get a recommendation from your Academic Advisor.
    • You will add your Academic Advisor's information (name and email address) 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 such as proof of class requirement for program completion or graduate assistantship employing department approval if applying for 40 hours of employment during fall or spring.
  4. Enroll in the class corresponding to CPT.
    • Check with your advisor to make sure you are enrolled in the correct class. Enrolling in a different class than your advisor's recommendation will cause your CPT request to be not approved.
  5. Schedule an appointment for CPT with an OISS advisor.
  6. 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.