Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an opportunity available to F-1 students for work or training that is directly related to their major field of study.  The work/training must be considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program the student is enrolled in.  According to immigration regulations, this work/training may be an internship, clinicalpracticum, volunteering, work, training or any other practical experience that is specifically required for your major or is one of your required elective courses.

Requirements for CPT Authorization

The CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum* and meet one of the following requirements:

  • The training must be in the student’s major(s) (not minor) field of study
  • The training is a required part of the program of study (such as a required practicum); OR
  • The student choses an internship course (or if major does not offer an internship course, special topics) to meet a required elective in their major

(*In practical terms, ‘integral part of an established curriculum’ means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must enroll in an internship class/special topics to fulfill a required elective in their major).

Student Eligibility for CPT

In order to be eligible for CPT and to receive authorization through the Center for Global Learning & Engagement, a student must meet the following conditions:

  • The student must have been maintaining F-1 status for a minimum of 9 months (2 semesters).
  • The student must be enrolled in a course for which work authorization is an integral part of the established curriculum (See Requirements for CPT).
  • The student must complete CPT before completing his/her studies. Students who have completed their studies must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Procedures for Applying for CPT

  1. Read and sign the “Request for Curricular Practical Training” form pages 1 and 2.
  2. Request that the departmental adviser complete the “Advisor Recommendation for CPT” form page 3.
  3. Request that the departmental advisor register the student in the required course credit.
  4. Student provides copy of the course syllabus that indicates practical experience is an essential component of the course.  If there is no syllabus, provide a course plan that indicates practical experience is an essential component of the course.
  5. Provide an employment offer letter from the company/training facility on official letterhead with the required CPT information (listed on page 3 of the form).
  6. Bring/email all documents to the Center for Global Learning & Engagement to request approval and receive updated I-20 indicating authorization for CPT. You may not begin work/training until you have received this authorization as printed on your I-20 (page 2) issued for CPT.  Working before or after approved dates is illegal employment and is grounds for termination of a student’s F-1 status.
  7. There is no “extension” or “renewal” of CPT for a new semester/summer session even if you wish to work/train at the same employer/organization. Students must complete a new CPT form in the required semester/session(s).



  • CPT is authorized for a specific employer/organization for a specific length of time.
  • CPT may be paid or unpaid.  The student must have a Social Security number for paid employment.
  • You may not begin work/training until you have received authorization from the Center for Global Learning & Engagement.
  • Work/training is usually approved for the first day of classes for the semester and ends on the last day of classes (beginning and end dates may be adjusted if required by the employer to meet job requirements – for start 30 days prior and end up to day before the start of the next semester, not to exceed 30 days)
  • Students in their final semester may only participate in CPT up to the last day of the semester/session.
  • Use of CPT does not disqualify a student from OPT (work authorization after graduation) unless the CPT is for 12 months of full-time CPT.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get paid for CPT? What if I don’t want to get paid?

CPT gives you specific off-campus work authorization. Internships through CPT can either be paid or unpaid. Both options require you to receive off-campus work authorization by completing the CPT application.

Can I receive CPT without being enrolled in a class?

No. To receive authorization for CPT you must be enrolled in a class for at least 1 credit for which practical experience is an integral part of the course.  For example, an internship class, a special problems class, a practicum, or a class that lists practical experience as a requirement in the syllabus.

How many hours can I work per week?

While taking other classes, you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week.  This includes all types of work (CPT and on-campus employment).  During the summer, if you are not taking any other classes or working on campus, you can work over 20 hours per week for CPT.

It will be good for me to have work experience before I graduate. Why can’t I just work off-campus?

F-1 student visas are designed for full-time study and do not permit general work authorization. After graduation, you can receive practical work experience in your major through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

How long does it take to receive CPT?

Once you have submitted a complete application, a DSO in the Center for Global Learning & Engagement will review and approve the request.  Please allow at least 3 business days before your CPT start date for questions/processing.  DO NOT start work/training until you have been notified by email that your CPT has been approved and your new I-20 with the approval has been issued.

How much does it cost to apply for CPT?

The CPT application is free.

Can my CPT last beyond the semester?

In certain circumstances, there can be a brief extension beyond the end of the semester.  If the employer would like you to work beyond the end of the semester in order to complete your work assignment, you can be extended up to the start of the next semester/session.  This option is not available for students in their final semester.

My course requires performance experience with multiple jobs throughout the semester.  Do I need to apply for CPT for each experience/gig?

Yes. CPT will only be authorized for a specific employer for the duration of the employment. If you later have another employment opportunity required by your course, you will need to apply for CPT again.  If you expect to have multiple experiences/gigs, try to present them on one application.

How can I find an internship available for international students?

UCA’s Career Services has resources for students to help find internships and other types of employment. Contact them to find out which opportunities are available for international students.