Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

General Information

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an opportunity for you to obtain practical experience in your major field of studies.  CPT is available only while you are pursuing your degree and may not delay the completion of your degree program. CPT must be approved and authorized by an Ithaca College DSO before you begin the employment. Authorization cannot be back-dated.  Working without CPT authorization, starting work before obtaining CPT authorization, or working after the end date of your CPT authorization may result in violation of your immigration status. Never work off campus (paid or unpaid) without CPT authorization. If you are not sure whether an off-campus practical experience requires CPT authorization, consult a DSO prior to starting the off-campus experience. The practical experience must be an integral part of your established curriculum and it must be directly related to your program of study.  There is no maximum amount of CPT you can use – however, if you accumulate one year or more of full-time CPT (defined as work for more than 20 hours/week), you will no longer be eligible for post-completion OPT.

 Eligibility for CPT

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • maintain active F-1 status for a minimum of 1 year (two regular semesters). If you are enrolled into a graduate program which requires you to pursue practical training immediately after you begin your studies, speak with a DSO as early as possible to make the necessary arrangements
  • declare a major
  • continue to be enrolled full time during the semester when you pursue CPT (except for summer)
  • pursue employment which is directly related to your major area of study
  • pursue employment which is required for your program or is an integral and credit-bearing part of your curriculum (for example, internship, independent study, etc.)
  • pursue employment only during the semester when you are enrolled in the class connected with the CPT authorization
  • provide an official letter (on letterhead) from the practicum site which includes the following: the name and physical address (street address, no PO boxes) of the employer; the exact start and end dates of the employment; number of hours per week; your job title; a brief description of duties; and the name and contact information (e-mail and phone number) of the training supervisor.
  • meet with your academic adviser, associate dean, school internship coordinator or the professor supervising the course for this CPT experience and discuss your plans with them. Make sure that the proposed CPT experience is an integral part of your academic program and that this employment is incorporated into the academic objectives of the course connected with the CPT.

 To begin the CPT application process, follow the instructions below:

  1. To apply for CPT authorization, go to the application page and click on the "Register/Apply" button.
  2. Select the top radio button, “I have a Username and password,” then click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page.
  3. Log in using your Netpass credentials (IC email username: e.g., pzhang -do not include IC's domain name as part of the username - and your IC email password), then click the "Login" button.
  4. At the top of the screen, select the appropriate term.
  5. Enter the start and end dates for your CPT experience, then, in the "Find Location" field, type in the city you plan to have your CPT experience in (e.g., Ithaca, Atlanta), click the search button.
  6. Select the appropriate location that appears in the drop-down menu, then click the "Add to Itinerary" button. This will create an Itinerary entry under Current Itinerary section towards the top of the page. If you make a mistake, you may click the red X shown on the left of the entry to delete it and then you may reenter information.
  7. When your anticipated dates and location are correct, click on the "Apply" button at the bottom of the screen.