F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT authorization is required for any off-campus practical training experience.
F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized when an internship is a required component of a student’s curriculum. When an internship is not required, a student must be able to demonstrate that it is integral to their course of study by enrolling in a degree-applicable internship or co-op type course within their major. Unit credit earned for this course must count towards the units needed to graduate.
CPT Work Authorization
CPT work authorization is required for all paid, full or part-time training experiences off-campus. CPT must also be authorized for unpaid internships. Note that full-time CPT is only available during the summer term, except for internships which are required for the major.
CPT is only permitted before completing your degree. Taking one or more quarters off during fall, winter, or spring for an internship is not allowed. CPT can only be authorized for one quarter at a time, and employment dates must match the quarter start and end dates.
Enrollment in an approved internship course is required for CPT. When students take an internship course, they work off-campus instead of attending weekly class meetings on campus. The internship class instructor will explain the academic work and/or documentation required for grading and course credit. Credit (CR) or a passing letter grade in the course is required.
Note: CPT is not intended for ongoing employment. Payment as an Independent Contractor is also not appropriate for CPT. If your internship does not qualify for CPT, you may consider applying for pre-completion Optional Practical Training, as an alternative.
- Full-time enrollment in F-1 visa status (or another visa status which allows full-time enrollment) for a minimum of three academic quarters
- Undergraduate students: good academic standing
- Graduate students: minimum GPA of 3.0
- Continue to make normal progress toward degree completion. CPT is not possible if it will delay your graduation date
- Able to earn unit credit for your major in a course determined by the academic department
- Continued enrollment in a minimum of 12 units during fall, winter, or spring quarters
- During summer quarter, the only enrollment required is for the internship course
How to Apply
- Meet with an Academic Advisor to determine eligibility
- Obtain a job offer letter on the employer’s letterhead that includes the following:
- Start and end dates of employment
- Paid or unpaid position
- Part-time (must state 20 hours or less) or full-time
- Full address of employer
- Brief description of job duties
- Signature of your employer
- Provide your offer letter to your advisor and meet to discuss course enrollment and relevance to your major
- Enroll in the course approved by your Advisor
- Log in to the International Student Hub to access the CPT application instructions and application form.
- Detailed instructions are included in within the application.
- You will use the same form to request a recommendation from your Academic Advisor.
- Once your application is complete and your recommendation has been received, CPT typically takes 1-2 business days to authorize. You will be provided a new I-20 via email once your CPT has been authorized.
If you have questions during any part of the process, you may schedule a meeting with an International Student Advisor by emailing International Services.