Navigating the CPT Process

Students working together .

CPT: Curricular Practical Training is a type of work-authorization used for F-1 students to complete off-campus training experiences.

Facts about CPT

1.       CPT is not a pathway to employment.

2.       Students must complete 1 academic year at a U.S. institution to be eligible.

Am I Eligible?

The International Student Services (ISS) website is the best resource for information on the CPT process. You will be able to see if you are eligible on their site.  If you have any specific questions they will be your best resource for information.  They are located at 210 Talbert Hall. 

Steps to CPT

1. Obtain an internship with official offer letter

Students must seek out their own internship opportunities.  Some great resources may be the faculty or the ISE listserv.

2. I have an offer letter, now what?

Students can apply for CPT once they received an official offer letter.  The letter must be on letterhead, include a date, the student's name and a position title.

3. Find a supervising faculty member to oversee your internship

You will need to find an ISE faculty member, as you will be need be registered for project guidance credits with them. Once you have selected a faculty member meet with them and bring, your offer letter, and this Academic Advisor's letter so that you can fill it out together. 

Please note: Students completing only 1 credit to coincide with the CPT will automatically be supervised by the DGS, Dr. Nikolaev.  If more than 1 credit is needed the student must seek out an IE faculty member other than the DGS to supervise them

4. I have my signed advisor's letter, what do I do with it?

Once you have completed the Academic Advisors letter with the supervising faculty member for the CPT experience then you must bring the completed advisors letter, official offer letter, and full-time certification form to Sean McCabe in 315 Bell Hall for enrollment and tracking.

Please Note: Students receiving internships that run four plus months (i.e. summer into fall) can move to Project Track and complete full-time CPT in their final semester.  The original offer letter must have a start date in summer and end date in fall in order to be moved to Project Track.  Students complete a minimum and maximum of three Project Guidance credits for Project Track (i.e. 2 Project Guidance credits in summer and 1 Project Guidance Credit in fall).  Students in Project Track will defend an industry based project as their culminating experience.  All Project Track students that receive offer that meet the aforementioned criteria will have to complete an advisor’s letter for each term (i.e. summer and fall). 

5. My internship is going well, can I extend my CPT into the next semester?

No.  Under no circumstances can a student start a summer only internship and extend into fall on a full-time basis once they have been approved for summer only CPT.  The same goes for the academic semester fall to spring. 

You must know the exact time frame from the start of the internship, it can not be extended or changed once it has started and paperwork has been filed. 

6. Final Semester Rules

Students can complete part-time CPT (20 hours or less) in their final semester, but cannot take an online course only during their final semester (i.e. If a student has 3 remaining to reach 30 credits in their final semester and have a part-time CPT offer they will have to complete 1 credit of Individual Problems and a 3 credit seated course).