Curricular Practical Training (CPT/Internships)

Off-Campus Employment: 
Off-campus employment opportunities are restricted for F-1 international students so students should never accept or engage in off-campus employment without prior authorization from the Office of International Services. Any unauthorized employment - even for one day - poses a serious threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. You must always make sure that you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is an employment option available to F-1 students who are engaged in an off-campus internship or practical training employment that is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program and directly related to the student's major. Here are the key aspects of CPT:

  • CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.
  • CPT must be a requirement of the program of study or the student must be receiving credit for the work experience.
  • The student must have been enrolled as a full-time F-1 student for one academic year. Some exceptions apply for graduate students. 
  • The employment may be full-time or part-time. 
  • CPT authorization requires a written job offer indicating the job title, dates of employment, number of hours, and location of employment. 
  • The Office of International Services must authorize CPT in SEVIS.  Students then receive a new form I-20 with CPT authorization indicated on the second page.
  • No USCIS approval is necessary, but if the student decides to change their employer, they must obtain a new job offer letter and a new authorization in SEVIS. CPT is not transferable from one job to the next.
  • If CPT is full-time (more than 20 hours per week) for 12 months or more, then the student becomes ineligible for OPT. 

Review frequently asked questions about CPT on the CPT Fact Sheet.  

To apply for CPT authorization, you must make an appointment with the Office of International Services. You need to submit a job offer letter and proof of enrollment in a course that requires an internship experience that is signed by your academic advisor. 

Sample Job Offer Letter

Note: You may not begin employment until you have been issued a new I-20 with CPT authorization. You may not work before or after your dates of authorized CPT.