What is Curricular Practical Training?
Curricular Practical Training is temporary employment that the U.S. ICE
(U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly known as the INS)
allows certain F-1 students to engage in so that they may gain practical
experience in their field of study.
Curricular Practical Training must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” The US ICE has defined curricular practical training as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”
Generally, the curricular practical training is taken for credit and is listed in the school’s course catalog or as a regular course listed with the Registrar’s Office with the available credits and the name of the faculty member teaching the course clearly indicated. There should be a description of the course with the course objectives clearly defined. Students enrolled in such a course may work out the detail of their specific projects within the established course objectives under the supervision of the instructor. If a degree program does not require such training as part of the degree program, you may still qualify for curricular practical training if you are enrolled for a “for credit” course and if the course/training is considered to be an integral part of your curriculum
Curricular Practical Training is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a specific job offer at the time of application. English as a Second language students are NOT eligible for Practical Training.
How Do I Qualify for Curricular Practical Training
An F-1 student may be authorized by the International Student Services Office (ISS) to participate in a curricular practical training program if you meet the following:
What is the Process for Obtaining Curricular Practical Training?
You should complete the following four steps well in advance of the date you wish to begin employment using Curricular Practical Training:
Meet with your faculty advisor, the internship course faculty supervisor, or co-op program coordinator to arrange placement with an employer as needed. You should also obtain the completed recommendation form. Please note this is only a recommendation. The final decision as to whether to grant or deny the CPT requests rests with the DSO in the International Student Services Office.
After the employment is arranged, have your internship course instructor, academic advisor, or co-op coordinator complete the attached form, entitled “Curricular Practical Training Recommendation for F-1 Students.”
If the employment is part of a course, you must generally register for that course during the semester or summer session for which the CPT will be authorized to take place. The ISS must be able to verify in the university registration system that you have registered for the course.
Schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor at least two weeks before the start of your proposed employment. Bring the following documentation to your appointment:
If approved, the International Student Services Office will then provide the student written authorization by recording the authorization in SEVIS and by issuing a new SEVIS I-20 with a notation before the work begins. US ICE approval is not required. The student must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status (or be granted an exception from full time enrollment). There are some exceptions from the full time enrollment requirement for some students engaged in CPT, but this must be granted in advance by the DSO.
If you have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training, you will not be eligible for post-completion optional practical training.
An example of employment appropriate for practical training is supervised fieldwork required for a Master of Social Work degree. All MSW candidates are required to work with a different social services agency each semester in a four semester program. In no case may the “field work instruction” requirement be waived.
A student studying marketing for his MBA may also qualify for CPT if one of the options available to fulfill the concentration in marketing is a paid internship, even though it is not required of all MBA students. The US ICE has stated that where the student has some choice in whether or not to pursue an academic route involving employment, such training can be classified as CPT if the student receives course credit. Even if an internship is not required of all students, if it is necessary for the individual student’s particular course or plan of work, the employment would qualify for CPT.
An arts administration internship requirement for the Master of Fine Arts would be another example. Periods of internship with one or more arts organizations are arranged in consultation with each candidate for the MFA in arts administration, and the internship is a formal and explicit requirement of the degree.
Doctoral students engages in work which is required for the completion of their unique dissertation may qualify for CPT if, for example, the research involves innovative technology available only at a particular corporations research and development facilities. The research that the student is engaged in provides critical data and expertise which is an integral part of the students educational program.
Curricular Practical Training is temporary employment that the U.S. ICE allows certain F-1 students to engage in so that they may gain practical experience in their field of study. Curricular Practical Training must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” The US ICE has defined curricular practical training as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”