Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
As an F-1 student, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) provides you with temporary employment authorization for off-campus employment opportunities that are considered an integral part of your curriculum – meaning that the course credits are going towards your degree or it is required by your department to graduate.
CPT employment must be directly related to your major. CPT is only available for F-1 students who have been enrolled full-time in the U.S. for at least one full academic year (i.e., fall and spring) immediately preceding the CPT authorization. Full-time is at least 36 units per semester. Students in graduate degree programs that require immediate internship participation may be eligible for CPT without meeting the one academic year requirement.
Requirements, Restrictions & Limitations
CPT is a work authorization approved by OIE and is job-specific. Examples include a co-op program, internship or research for a thesis or dissertation. To be eligible for CPT, you will need to be enrolled in an internship or practicum course (independent study does not qualify for CPT).
CPT is only available to F-1 students who have not graduated and have been enrolled full-time in the U.S. for at least one full academic year (i.e., fall and spring semesters, with at least 36 units per semester) immediately preceding the CPT authorization or who are in a graduate program that requires immediate internship participation. Students in graduate degree programs that require immediate internship participation may be eligible for CPT without meeting the one academic year requirement.
CPT must occur within the CMU Academic Calendar dates within a specific academic semester. While you must abide by your employer's specified end date, you may (with your department's approval) request authorization through the end of an academic term to avoid the need for an extension if your employer later extends your employment through the end of the academic term.
Note: You are not authorized to begin working until OIE has approved your CPT, you have received your CPT I-20 and are within the dates listed on your CPT I-20. Your CPT can not be backdated.
CPT Application Steps
- After receiving a job offer, request an offer letter from your employer (you may want to share OIE's Employer Template Letter (pdf) with the below information circled or underlined:
- The number of hours per week or if the job is full-time.
- The complete employer/company address, including zip code (no P.O. Box). If the work location is different from the parent/headquarters location, the letter must indicate both addresses.
- The start date of employment (this must be a date in the future and between the start and end date of one academic term).
- End date of employment (this must be a date in the future and between the start and end date of one academic term).
- Enroll in a credit-bearing internship or practicum course during the term you are seeking CPT.
- Prepare your CPT Academic Advisor Recommendation (pdf) form.
- Complete and pass the CPT e-Learning Course. The CPT e-Learning Course will help you learn how to submit your CPT documents online through your MyOIE Portal.
- Gather and submit the following documents through your MyOIE Portal to apply for CPT:
- Offer letter and supplementary documentation; this should be no more than one to three pages.
- Proof of enrollment in a credit-bearing internship or practicum course from SIO.
- In SIO: Click Course Schedule → Semester Schedule → Select the correct term/semester (e.g. summer) for the correct year → Print the List Version that shows both the course name and number.
- A copy of your most recent I-94 record that does not include your travel history.
- Submit a screenshot of your CPT e-Form Canvas course quiz results/grade
- Receive a new I-20 within ten business days after submitting CPT E-Form Request. This new I-20 will include your work authorization. You will receive an email to your Andrew email account once your new I-20 is ready.
You can start the CPT application process when summer course registration opens if you have a summer internship. You can find when summer registration begins on the CMU Academic Calendar. You will receive a new CPT I-20 (which serves as work authorization for your employer) from OIE.
Note: CPT must occur within the CMU Academic Calendar dates within a specific academic semester. As many departments allow for an extended summer internship calendar, check with your academic department to determine which dates you can use for your CPT based on your program's summer calendar.