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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by federal regulations as “an integral part of an established curriculum” related to your program of study. This can be in the form of an internship, practicum, or in the case of graduate and doctoral students, thesis and dissertation courses taken for course credit.

Part-Time CPT
(Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are also enrolled for classes)
There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training, but you must be enrolled in school during your training in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

Full-Time CPT

(Employment for more than 20 hours per week)
While in full-time training, you need not be enrolled for classes in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time curricular practical training, but if you participate for twelve months or more you will not be eligible for optional practical training.


Unless you are a graduate student who must participate in a required internship to satisfy degree requirement, you are not eligible to engage in curricular practical training until you have been in the U.S. in lawful F-1 student status for one academic year. Graduate students whose degree programs require immediate participation in curricular practical training may apply for it at any time. You cannot participate in CPT after completion of studies. Once your program of study is completed all CPT must cease.

You must be careful not to continue employment beyond the date authorized on your l-20, unless you apply for and are granted an extension of your permission to work. Work permission is only granted for one semester at a time. You must repeat this process each semester you plan to work.

Authorization Process

You must complete the following steps before the date you wish to start employment.  You cannot lawfully start employment until you receive your new CPT I-20:

  1. Set up an appointment with your academic advisor or internship coordinator to discuss your internship options. Once an internship/practicum site has been approved by your academic advisor or internship coordinator, ask him/her to complete the CPT Certification Form.
  2. Obtain a job offer letter from the employer (internship/practicum site) that includes the following information:
    • Job Title and description
    • Number of hours to be worked each week
    • Beginning and ending dates of employment
  3. Set-up an appointment with the IAP office to evaluate your documents and determine if the internship/practicum meets eligibility requirements. Please bring the following documents to the initial meeting:
    • Current form I-20 
    • Valid passport and I-94 card
    • Completed CPT Certification Form (obtain from IAP office)
    • Employment letter
  4. A follow-up appointment will be necessary if you fail to bring all the required documentation. Please allow yourself enough time to complete the process before your employment start date.