Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. Your major field of study is listed on your I-20. “Practical training” can include employment, internship experience (paid or unpaid), practicum participation, etc. CPT is authorized by the P/DSO of your sponsored school in accordance with the F-1 regulations. You can apply for CPT during the summer and during academic year, (you must remain registered full-time).

For undergraduate students, CPT must be part-time (20 hours per week or less) during the academic year. During the summer, CPT may be part-time or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). Part-time CPT and fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization does not affect your OPT eligibility.


Students may be eligible for CPT if they:

  • Currently hold valid F-1 status.
  • Have been enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year.
  • Have officially declared a major. CPT cannot be authorized based on “General Studies” as a major, nor on any minor.
  • Undergraduate students are only eligible to take two Metacognition and Personal Development courses.
  • Undergraduate students are only eligible to take two Praxis Independent Study courses.

Credit Requirement

You may request authorization for CPT to participate in employment or internship that is integral to your established curriculum. Required training must be clearly identified and described in the course catalog or similar publication.

You are required to register for and earn academic credit for your training experience. This could be an internship, practicum, or similar course through your academic department.

  • Your academic department might not require you to earn credit for an optional training/work experience, but USCIS requires academic credit be earned for CPT to be authorized.
  • You must be enrolled for academic credit during the time for which CPT is authorized. If you are an undergraduate student and you have CPT authorization during the summer, you must be enrolled in the Metacognition and Personal Development course. If you have CPT authorization during the academic year, you must be enrolled in Praxis Independent Study course or GSSWSR Practicum courses.
  • If you apply for CPT authorization in your final semester, you must register for at least two additional courses besides your CPT-credit. CPT-credit cannot be the only unit on your final semester schedule unless it is fulfilling a degree requirement.

CPT Application Procedures

If you qualify for CPT, login to GPS and submit a CPT request from your Control Center.

Your request will be reviewed and if approved, you will then be issues a new Form I-20 endorsed on page 2 with details of your CPT employment. CPT is date and employer specific. If you change your start/end date or employer you must submit a new request

You must comply with the restrictions on your employment authorization as stipulated on your I-20. Your endorsed I-20, together with your passport and I-94 record, is evidence of your eligibility to work and may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 that all U.S. employers are required to complete.

If anything changes—if you leave the job, if the dates change, etc.—you must inform the P/DSO immediately to have your document updated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

CPT is employment that is an integral part of your major/ curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship or practicum. You must receive course credit. CPT is employer specific and must be is only available before you graduate. OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and is not attached to any academic credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate. OPT is authorized by USCIS.

Do I need to have a job to apply for CPT?

You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.

Can I change the number of hours I work?

You can change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, you may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, if you change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) you must request a new authorization.

Can I change employers?

No. CPT is employer specific. You would need to apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.

Can I extend my CPT?

You will be authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date nor continue after the end date. To request and extension, contact International Student and Scholar Advising. You must request an extension in sufficient time to allow your P/DSO to evaluate the request before you can continue beyond the end date of your current CPT. The new requested end date may not overlap with the next academic period.

Do I need a Social Security number?

You will need a Social Security number in order to receive payment from your employer.