Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Purpose of Curricular Practical Training

Curricular practical training (CPT) is designed to provide a student in F-1 status with the ability to participate in internship employment as either a required part of their degree program or as an integral (not required but beneficial) part of their program. Please see required versus integral below.

A Designated School Official (DSO) such as the advisors in the International Student Services office must review the objective of the internship (required vs integral) to determine if it meets with the Federal regulations for the F-1 visa category before the student  participates in an internship. A student is required to be enrolled in an internship and/or practicum course for the duration of the internship.  Authorization for an internship must be entered in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and noted on the I-20 form before employment begins. 

To find additional information about curricular practical training, please review the information below: 

Eligibility for Curricular Practical Training

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) regulations define the following criterion for participation and eligibility in CPT:

  • The student must be in valid F-1 status at the time of application and have been in full-time student status for one academic year preceding the CPT application. If a graduate program requires the training program to begin immediately, this requirement can be waived.
  • The training must be an important and integral part of the student's program of study.
  • The training must be part of a course, which is either required by the student's degree program, or part of a course for which the student receives academic credit.
  • The course must be listed in the WTAMU catalog as "Internship" or "Practicum."

Required vs. Integral Authorization

CPT may be authorized for an internship that is either a required or integral part of an academic program:

  • A required internship must be completed by all students in a degree program and is generally listed on the program of study.
  • An integral internship is not specifically required by the degree program, but may be highly encouraged or necessary to learn specific skills or gather research for thesis, dissertation, or a final project.

Part-time vs. Full-time Authorization

The training may be either part-time or full-time:

  • Part-time curricular practical training is limited to 20 hours per week and requires full-time enrollment in school. Part-time curricular practical training does not affect a student's post completion practical training (OPT).
  • Full-time curricular practical training is 21 hours per week or more and requires at least part- time enrollment in school in order to keep the student's F-1 status. Full-time curricular practical training may affect post-completion practical training. Students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training will be ineligible for post- completion practical training (OPT).

Application Process

Students interested in applying for CPT should make an appointment with a Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Student Services office at least two weeks prior to the desired employment start date.  This will allow the DSO time to review the internship objectives and request adjustments to the CPT form if needed.  There is no fee to apply for CPT authorization. Bring the following items with you to your appointment:

  1. Student's completed CPT form - CPT Student Form
  2. Employer’s completed CPT form -  CPT Employer Form.  You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT.  CPT is authorized for (1) Employment with a  specific employer (2) A specific educational objective (3) A specific academic term. Please ask your employer to fill out the form before making an appointment with a DSO.  You should submit this form along with a copy your official job letter on company letterhead.
  3. Academic department completed CPT Form - CPT Academic Department Form.  Please meet with your academic adviser to discuss the internship objectives, register for the course, and to complete the form.

A Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Student Services office will review your application and if approved, a new I-20 with CPT authorization will be issued within 5-7 business days.

You must present this I-20 to your employer as proof of employment eligibility before beginning employment.  The CPT authorization on page 2 of your I-20 is your proof to accept employment.  Your I-20 and I-94 may be used to complete your Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) that all U.S. employers are required by law to complete within three days of the start of employment.

You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue working after the end date on the I-20.