Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization which allows F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study prior to graduation. Both paid and unpaid work requires prior authorization. According to immigration regulations, the work performed must be directly related to the student's major field of study and considered either required or integral to their academic program. For work that is related to the student’s field of study, but does not have a curricular component, the student must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Step 1: Read through the information in this section of the website and determine whether you are eligible for CPT. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for CPT or have questions about the application process, you can meet with an International Student Advisor during walk-in hours.
Step 2: Submit a CPT Request.
Step 3: Pick up and sign your new I-20. You will be notified via email when your I-20 is ready.
Step 4: Begin work. You must be authorized for CPT by an International Student Advisor before beginning any employment. Working prior to obtaining authorization could result in a loss of your F-1 status. Even unpaid work must be authorized.
CPT is a type of work authorization for F-1 students, but the primary purpose of CPT is educational. The work you perform can be paid or unpaid, but must be considered required or integral to your program of study and occur prior to completion of your coursework. CPT should not delay the completion of your program.
Part-time CPT authorization is 20 hours per week or less. Full-time CPT is 21 hours per week or more.
Full-time CPT can be authorized during the summer break. Requests for full-time CPT during fall/spring will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in close consultation with your academic advisor.
CPT is considered part of your curriculum and is therefore authorized based on academic semester. If the employment dates span across more than one semester, the Academic Advisor's Recommendation Letter should clearly states the employment dates and the course enrollment for each semester.
You may use as much CPT authorization as is required for your degree program. However, if you accumulate 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, you are not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.
A student authorized for CPT may only work for the specific employer at the specific location and for the specific dates listed on page 3 of his/her I-20. If there are any changes to this information, the student must contact an International Student Advisor prior to the change. The student will be required to submit updated documentation.