Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

About CPT

  • CPT authorizes you for work only in the United States
  • Even if you wish to continue CPT with the same employer the next semester, you will need to submit a new application
  • If you want to change employers, you must notify us before the change and submit a new application
  • If any information regarding your employment changes (such as you stop working before your end date), you must contact your ISAO advisor so that your SEVIS record can be updated
  • Even if the internship is unpaid, you must apply for CPT work authorization

Definition of CPT

“(i) Curricular practical training. An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work-study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.”

Learn more about CPT

Summer/Fall 2022 CPT Info Session slides (PDF)

Full-time CPT

 Working a total of more than 20 hours per week qualifies you as full time

  • Your total hours between on- and off-campus employment must be more than 20 hours per week and less than 40 (if you work 15 hours on-campus, you will only be allowed to work 25 hours off-campus.
  • A total of 365 days of full-time on CPT makes you ineligible for OPT (if you work three months of full-time CPT each summer break for four years your total is 365 days)
  • You must maintain full-time enrollment or have submitted an FTE form

Bachelor-level students - Full-time CPT is allowed only during summer break, winter break or in your graduating semester
Master-level students - Full-time CPT is allowed only during summer break, winter break or in your graduating semester
Ph.D.-level students - Full-time CPT is reviewed and authorized on a case-by-case basis

Part-time CPT

  • Working a total of 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time
  • You can apply for CPT even if you have an on-campus job, including research and teaching assistantships
  • Beginning in fall 2021, you can work up to 20 hours per week on campus while also working up to 20 hours per week off campus in part-time CPT

Volunteer and unpaid work

  • Employment is defined by the experience; not by whether or not you are paid. If your internship is unpaid, you may still need CPT authorization before starting work. 
  • Always consult your ISAO advisor before starting any type of work, including volunteer or unpaid internships. Do not rely on your employer/supervisor to know whether authorization is required.

Learn more about employment and volunteering (PDF)

CPT Application

Eligibility

  • You must be in valid F-1 visa status
  • You must be registered as a full-time student in an academic program (students enrolled in ESL courses are not eligible).
  • You must have completed one full academic year in the United States at the undergraduate or graduate level (some graduate programs require immediate participation)
  • You must have a job offer letter when you apply
  • Your position must be directly related to your program of study
  • CPT is only available before graduation or completion of your program
  • Your CPT must be attached to a course in the semester during which you will be working. If you are doing a summer CPT, you must be enrolled in a summer course.
  • Enrollment is required (consult your academic advisor on which course you should enroll in for CPT)
  • CPT must “be alternative work-study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”
  • If you have already completed all degree requirements, you are not eligible for CPT. You cannot delay graduation to apply for CPT as a way to lengthen employment.
  • CPT is granted on a case-by-case basis each semester. There is no guarantee your CPT will be approved.

How to apply for CPT (PDF)

Apply for CPT (PDF)

Application deadlines

Applications should be submitted at least seven to 10 business days before your requested start date.
  • Spring - before March 15
  • Summer - before June 30
  • Fall - before October 15
2021 CPT Schedule
Semester Start date End date
Fall 2021 August 23, 2022

December 17, 2021 (fall graduates)

January 17, 2022 (continuing education into spring 2022)

Spring 2022 January 18, 2022 May 13, 2022
Summer 2022 May 14, 2022

July 29, 2022 (summer graduates)

August 21, 2022 (continuing education into fall 2022)

CPT Restrictions

CPT is not a back door to employment and should not be used solely as an income source. CPT is academic in nature. We do not recommend that you bridge CPT employment to OPT as this may result in issues with your Post-Completion OPT application, STEM OPT or H1B. If your CPT internship unexpectedly becomes an offer for full-time OPT, we recommend getting a new offer letter stating how your position has changed.

  • You may not begin work until you receive a new I-20 with employment authorization for your specific employer and dates of employment.
  • Starting work before you are authorized is considered unauthorized employment and will result in the termination of your I-20/F-1 status in the United States.