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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option available to F-1 students in which work experience is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program. This employment may be an internship, cooperative education job, a practicum or any other pre-approved work experience. CPT is not an entitled benefit. Students in English language programs are ineligible for practical training.

The following are answers to several frequently asked questions.

Am I eligible to apply for CPT?

You are eligible for CPT if you meet the following criteria:

  • Meet the departmental academic internship criteria
  • Have held legal student status for one academic year except when early participation is mandated by the program
  • Have a job offer that is related to your major field of study and is an integral part of your degree program

Your CPT must fall into one of these categories:

  • Optional Part of Degree Program
    If employment in your field of study is not a required part of your degree program, you may participate as long as it is registered for academic credit and is supervised by a faculty member.
  • Required Part of Degree Program
    If your degree program requires employment in your field of study to graduate, you may participate in CPT as long as you meet the other requirements of lawful status.

How do I maintain my CPT eligibility?

You must be maintaining your student status throughout your CPT. While school is in session, you are only authorized to work a total of 20 hours per week in all combined employment unless academic requirements mandate otherwise.

Part-time CPT

  • Work 20 hours or less per week
  • Meet regulatory enrollment requirements for the term enrolled
  • Register for credit within your program of study

Full-time CPT:

  • Work 21 hours or more per week
  • Allowed ONLY during vacation periods unless mandated by program requirements

Can I apply for OPT after I have completed CPT?

Students are eligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) if they have not accumulated 12 months of full-time CPT.

To apply for CPT, you must bring the following items to the Office of International Programs at least one week before the employment begins.

How can I apply for CPT?

  • Your most recent I-20 ID
  • CPT application signed by a faculty advisor indicating course information and major relevance
  • Proof of enrollment for academic credit
  • Letter from employer indicating the job title, dates of employment, number of hours of work per week and brief description of work.

If all eligibility requirements are met, a Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Programs will enter the employment authorization in your SEVIS record and indicate the employer, location, hours and dates of employment. A copy of the employment page of the SEVIS Form I-20 will be printed, signed and dated by the DSO and returned to you prior to the beginning of employment. Remember you can only work during the employment dates authorized on your I-20.


For more information about CPT and how to apply please contact:

The Office of International Programs
Plant Hall Room 300
(813) 258-7433