Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is permission to work part-time or full-time (if mandatory) in a training position related to your field of study while you pursue your degree. The training must be an integral part of the established curriculum required for your degree. The following examples illustrate types of CPT that can be authorized:

  • Employment related to a required internship.
  • Work necessary to fulfill the requirements of a course with a practicum component.
  • Research work necessary to complete a thesis doctoral dissertation.

CPT employment of 20 or fewer hours per week is considered part-time and requires concurrent full-time course work. CPT employment of more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time and can only be considered if it is mandatory by the degree program that you are pursuing.

Please note: Students who are authorized for one year or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

Plan ahead. CPT must be authorized on your I-20 by a Designated School Official (DSO) at the Office of International Programs and Services. You may not begin working until you have received your work authorization on your SEVIS I-20. (Even if the practicum/internship is required for the degree, you must get the authorization on your I-20 first to avoid being considered in violation of your F-1 status by USCIS.)


To be eligible for Curricular Practical Training, you must:

  • Have been a full-time student for at least one academic year (9 months).
  • Have a valid, un-expired passport, I-94 card, and I-20.
    Be currently enrolled full-time unless it is a semester break (Summer session).
  • Be registered for a course that has a practicum component, that counts for academic credit (usually 3 credits), and that is listed in the Schedule of Classes, or
  • Be ready to pursue an internship that has been approved by the academic department as an integral part of your program of study (as documented by written program or syllabus description).

To Apply for CPT:

  • Obtain the F-1 Curricular Practical Training Packet from International Programs and Services.
  • Read all of the information in the packet carefully.
  • With your academic advisor’s help, fill out the Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for CPT Form.
  • Attach a copy of the written internship/practicum description from your school bulletin or course syllabus.
  • Return the packet to International Programs and Services. Bring with you the following:
    • I-20
    • Copies of your passport, visa and I-94 card
    • Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for CPT form
    • Original job offer letter
    • Copy of internship/practicum description from school bulletin or course syllabus
    • Proof of registration for relevant course credit (where applicable)
    • Form I-538 completed (the top)
    • Valid proof of medical insurance
  • The DSO will evaluate the above forms and documents, and make an appropriate decision. If you are approved the DSO will update your record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training. The DSO will then print a copy of your SEVIS Form I-20 indicating that curricular practical training has been approved. The DSO must sign, date, and return the SEVIS Form I-20 to you prior to the commencement of your employment. You are eligible to start CPT only after receiving the endorsed I-20 from the DSO. You are eligible to work under CPT only for the employer and location specified, and only for the duration specified.

Click below to download the application