International Student and Scholar Services

Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary off-campus employment for practical training directly related to an F-1 student’s major. CPT contributes to a student’s program of study (e.g. internship credit) while a student is earning their degree.

Key Aspects

There are two kinds of CPT:

  • Full-time: 21 + hours/week
    • Only 11 months and 29 days of full-time CPT is allowed if a student plans to apply for post-completion Optional Practical training
  • Part-time: 20 hours/week or fewer

Students apply to the Center for International Studies (CIS) for CPT authorization once they have an offer letter from their employer and approval from their academic advisor.

Employment can begin when the student receives an updated I-20 from CIS indicating CPT authorization (reflected on page 2 of the I-20).


  • Currently in valid F-1 student status
  • Lawfully enrolled at a DHS-approved school (e.g. SCSU) for at least one full academic year
    • Exceptions provided for Graduate Students whose program immediately require CPT (Day 1 CPT).
  • During the fall/spring semester, student must be enrolled in a full course of study while on CPT.
    • Exceptions:
      • Students on full-time CPT can study part-time if approved for a Full-Time Equivalency (FTE)—or, for those in their final semester, a Reduced Course Load (RCL).
      • Students on part-time CPT can study part-time in their final semester, if approved for an RCL.
  • If student is participating in CPT during their final semester, they should be enrolled in at least one course required for degree completion.

Things to Know before Applying 

  • Students should speak with their academic advisor prior to beginning the CPT request process with CIS. This will help determine how the internship/employment experience is related to your program, required course registration, and any other academic department-related requirements.
    • Note: Some academic departments have their own requirements or processes that must be completed before requesting CPT from CIS.
  • CIS can only authorize CPT after the student registers for the academic credit hours tied to their CPT.
  • Students must be authorized for CPT by CIS before beginning employment.
  • CPT authorization comes in the form of an updated I-20.
  • Employment must be directly related to the student’s major.
  • CPT employment can be paid or unpaid.
  • CPT is a semester-based authorization. A request must be submitted for each semester a student wishes to participate in CPT.
    • CPT Authorization Dates:
      • The earliest start date one may request is the day after the last day of courses for the previous semester.
      • The latest end date one may request is the last day of courses for the semester in which CPT is requested.
      • Please see SCSU's Academic Calendar.

Steps for Applying

  1. Receive employment offer for an off-campus position directly related to your major. Obtain an offer letter from your prospective employer, on company letterhead, with the following required details:
    • Name, address, and contact information of employer/site supervisor.
      • If your physical work site is not at the employer address, the letter must include the complete work site address or remote work.
    • Description of work to be performed
    • Start and end dates of employment appointment 
    • Hours to be worked per week
  2. Meet or speak with your academic advisor to register for the academic course related to the CPT.
  3. Complete the online CPT Request Form
    • You may also access the form by visiting and sign in with your student Office365 account. Select the "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Form" in "Forms I can Submit"
    • Please read through our step-by-step user guide (PDF)
    • This form will allow you to request the following:
      • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
      • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) & Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) for full-time CPT with a part-time course load.
      • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) & Reduced Course Load (RCL) for completion of course of study with a part-time course load.
    • If you require a Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) or Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization for any other qualifying reason, please complete the PDF request forms on the provided webpage and follow instructions to submit the request to CIS.
  4. Once the form is submitted, the review process will begin. You will receive e-mail updates at each stage of the review process. CPT requests require review and recommendations by the following people or groups:
    • Academic advisor
    • ISSS Review
    • International Student Advisor (DSO) Final Review
  5. If approved, the international student advisor (DSO) will authorize your CPT in SEVIS and create an updated I-20 with the CPT authorization. The authorization will be found on page 2 of the I-20. This I-20 will be attached in the final approval e-mail. The I-20 can be provided to an employer as proof of CPT authorization.

If you need general assistance, please reach out to our office by e-mail at or call 320-308-4287.

For specific questions/concerns once your request is submitted, please reach out to International Student & Scholar Services by e-mail at

Things to Know after CPT Authorization

  • Students can engage in CPT only for the specified employer, location, and time period approved in SEVIS by CIS (reflected on page 2 of the I-20).
  • Students should immediately notify CIS of any changes to their CPT employment (changes of location, employer, etc.).
    • If your internship/employment ends earlier than the end date of your CPT authorization, you must provide CIS with a letter from your employer, on letterhead, confirming the end date. This can be e-mailed to
  • If a student changes their CPT employer, they should reapply for CPT with a new CPT Request Form, following all the above “Steps for Applying.” 
  • CPT authorizations are semester-based. A new CPT authorization must be requested for each semester the student wishes to participate in CPT.
  • If a student exceeds 364 days of full-time CPT, they lose eligibility for OPT.

Tips for Finding CPT Employers

  •  Talk to your academic advisor and other departmental faculty members.
  •  Network with other students in your program.
  •  Attend professional conferences.
  •  Connect with the SCSU Career Center for help with resumes, cover letters, interview skills, finding job opportunities, etc.


Applications must be submitted at least two weeks before the start date of the student's internship.

Due to the high volume of applications, processing times may be more than seven business days.

Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Processing does not begin until a complete application is submitted.

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