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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows F-1 students to gain experience in their fields of study prior to graduation. Most F-1 students who have been studying full time for at least 9 months or 2 semesters are eligible for CPT.

Requirements of CPT Employment

In order to qualify for CPT, the employment must comply with at least ONE of the following conditions:

  • Fulfills an optional or required internship in the academic program OR
  • Fulfills a requirement for a regular course or independent study in an academic program OR
  • If working on a thesis or final project, the work must contribute "materially and substantially" to the final paper or project.

Apply for CPT

Step 1: Meet with your academic advisor and a career counselor. Explain that in order to be authorized to work off campus, international students must be registered for a course which is connected to the work. The advisor and counselor should guide the student in finding a suitable internship and in choosing a course which would qualify for CPT.

Step 2: Start applying for jobs.

Step 3: Once offered a job, get an official offer of employment letter from the prospective employer. Download a template.

Step 4: Ask your academic advisor to complete the CPT form.

Step 5: Register for internship hours through the Career Development Center.

Step 6: Submit your employment offer and CPT form to your International Student Advisor. Authorization for CPT is noted directly on the I-20 form, and takes approximately one week to process.

PLEASE NOTE: F-1 students can use an unlimited amount of part-time CPT and still get 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion of studies. However, you use more than 12 months of full-time (over 20 hours/week) CPT, you will no longer be eligible for OPT.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Social Security (FICA) should not be withheld from the wages of an F-1 student on CPT if the student is classified as a non-resident for tax purposes. Earnings are, however, subject to federal, state, and local taxes.

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