Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

An F-1 student may be authorized by a DSO to participate in a CPT program which is an integral part of an established curriculum: Internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Employment for a credit-bearing internship can occur only during the semester the student is enrolled in the class which necessitated the CPT authorization.


  • Students must have completed one academic year of study as a full-time enrolled F-1 student. Graduate students enrolled in programs which require immediate participation in practical training are exempt from this requirement. Students in such programs are advised to speak with a DSO for further instructions as early in the semester as possible.
  • The proposed employment must be a position which is directly related to the student’s major area of study or a required component for a class the student is registered for.
  • The employment opportunity must be an integral part of the student’s curriculum, such as a credit-bearing internship, field study, independent study, etc., or a practicum or internship required for the student’s program of study. The student must submit evidence to the DSO demonstrating that the proposed CPT is an integral part of the student’s curriculum.
  • CPT which takes place while school is in session can be only part-time (up to 20 hours per week). CPT which takes place during the summer vacation can be part-time or full-time.
  • Students who have received one year or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for post-completion practical training.

CPT Application Procedure:

The student should submit the following documents to the DSO at least one week before beginning CPT:

  • Recommendation from the student’s advisor, course instructor, or internship/practicum coordinator.
  • If applicable, a letter from the employer stating the specifics of the job, the beginning and end date of employment, and the name, address, and phone number of the supervisor for the CPT project.

When the CPT training is authorized, the DSO retains copies of the submitted paperwork in the student’s file and returns the updated I-20 to the student. The dates of authorization for employment are reflected on the I-20 for the stated employer and time period. If the student needs to change employers or extend the time period, then the student must go through the process again and obtain new authorization. If the student is receiving payment for the CPT, his/her salary will be subject to all taxes (federal, state, and local) that may apply. International students who are in the US for less than six years are usually exempt from social security taxes (also known as FICA) – the student should discuss this with the employer before beginning work.