Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 students when the training experience is considered to be an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student’s program of study.

Curricular Practical Training is the term used by USCIS to refer to paid or unpaid internships or employment. According to Immigration regulations, CPT may be an internship, practicum, or other work experience that is required for the degree program (as defined in the catalog) or for which academic course credit is awarded.


  • Have maintained legal F-1 status for at least 9 consecutive months (exception: graduate program that requires training before completion of one academic year, (consult with the international student advisor)
  • Be enrolled in a course for academic credit (if not a requirement of the degree program)
  • Obtain a job/training offer related to your program of study


CPT is contingent upon a solid job offer (refer to CPT Employer Guide).

Graduate students engaging in research as part of the thesis or dissertation must prove that the CPT request involves innovative technology available only at the particular corporation/research facility or that the CPT request is for completing data collection essential for completion of the thesis or dissertation.

How to Apply

  1. Obtain employer offer letter
  2. Complete CPT Application Form
  3. Obtain academic adviser approval, course instructor information, and course description, as required by the CPT Application
  4. Submit CPT application documents to the international student advisor two weeks prior to anticipated CPT start date
  5. Allow three days for review, approval and processing time
  6. Do not begin working until you receive the new I-20 with CPT authorization from the international student advisor


The international student advisor will review CPT application materials. If eligibility is established, the advisor will issue a new I-20 listing the CPT authorization and start and end dates, in addition to the employer name and address.

Note: No Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from Immigration is required.

Hours and Restrictions

  • Part-time CPT is authorized for up to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time CPT is authorized for 20 hours per week or more (anything beyond 20 hours per week is permissible)

CPT is authorized to correspond with St. Thomas University’s academic calendar

Note: If you engage in full-time authorized CPT for a period of 12 months or more, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training.

Changes and Extensions

CPT is approved for a specific employer, place of employment, and time period. Consult with the international student advisor prior to a change of employer or extension of training period. Any change to your current period of CPT must be requested at least two weeks in advance.

A new CPT application must be completed to obtain a new period of CPT authorization. You are not permitted to work beyond your previously-approved CPT dates until you receive a new I-20 authorizing new or extended CPT dates.