Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training work authorization allows F-1 students to gain practical work experience in their field of study prior to the completion of their academic programs. Per 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10), to be eligible for CPT, you must have been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis for one full academic year and currently be in F-1 status. CPT is authorized by the OIS in accordance with 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i).

*Please Note*: Working off-campus without authorization from the OIS is never lawful for students in F-1 status.  You must have authorization from the OIS before you start working.

CPT employment must be an 'integral part of an established curriculum'. This is interpreted in three ways:

  1. All students in the program are required to participate in an off-campus experience in order to be granted the degree (i.e. clinical rotations, required internships, etc.)
  2. Optional experiences for which academic credit is granted (i.e., the program has an internship, externship, practicum or other course that is offered for credit to students in the program). Course enrollment must occur in the term when the employment is occurring.
  3. For thesis-track students, off-campus employment is required to perform research that is directly related to the student's dissertation or thesis.

CPT authorization is granted on a semester-by-semester basis only. If you wish to continue your employment beyond the semester for which you’ve been authorized, you must follow the entire application process again, including the appropriate course registration for the option that you choose. Hint: Apply as soon as you register for the next semester to ensure you do not have gaps in authorized employment.

Steps to Apply for CPT

  1. Discuss opportunities for training with your academic advisor
  2. Receive training offer and training letter from employer
  3. Log into Sunapsis and submit your Curricular Practical Training request under “F-1 Practical Training”

Eligibility for CPT

  • Have been a full-time student for at least one full academic year (exception for programs that require immediate practical experience),
  • Currently be in F-1 status,
  • Currently be in good academic standing,
  • Have the approval of your academic advisor/department, and
  • Have a job offer from your prospective employer related to your course of study.

Offer Letter Required Components

  • Name of Employer, Company, or Institution
  • Job Title
  • Employer’s Address
  • Specific start and end date
  • Specific location where your work will be performed
  • Number of hours per week you will work
  • Description of your duties