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 kind of CPT

  • Full-time: 21 + hours/week
    • CPT, on-campus employment and graduate assistantships combined can equal 40 hours
    • 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/well or fewer
    • Curricular Practical Training, on-campus employment and graduate assistantship combined can equal no more than 20 hours

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).

Eligibility

  • 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
  • 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 

  • 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.

Steps for Applying

  1. Receive employment offer for an off-campus position directly related to your major. The letter from your prospective employer should be on the company's letterhead and include:
    1. Name, address, and contact information of employer/site supervisor 
    2. Description of work to be performed
    3. Start and end dates of employment appointment 
    4. Hours to be worked per week
  2. Complete the CPT Request Form with your academic advisor.
  3. Register for the academic course related to the CPT.
  4. Submit the offer letter and CPT Request Form to CIS via email or the CIS front desk.
  5. DSO will review your completed documents, 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.)
  6. When the processing is finished, CIS will email you with your new I-20. You can submit this I-20 to your employer as proof of CPT authorization.

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 a student changes their CPT employer, they should reapply for CPT with a new CPT Request Form, following all the above “Steps for Applying.”
  •  If a student is required to continue their internship beyond the CPT end date on their I-20, they should contact CIS for approval.
  • 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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