Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?

CPT is a type of practical training authorization that allows qualified F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study while making progress towards the completion of their academic program. 

CPT is practical training that is performed for academic credit (part of school curriculum and commensurate to degree level) AND that is required as part of the academic plan or program curriculum from ALL students in the program.

This Includes:

  • Required internship, practicum, student teaching or field experience (paid or unpaid)
  • Optional internships for credit (MUST be in student’s major or program of study)
  • Cooperative (Co-op) education programs for credit (MUST be in student’s major or program of study


  • currently be in valid F-1 status
  • have completed two semesters of full-time enrollment in a row prior to CPT request 
  • be registered for a course that requires an internship component
  • Ph.D. students and students enrolled in a Master’s with thesis option are
    INELIGIBLE for CPT if they have completed all coursework and are registered
    for thesis or dissertation credits only.

VERY IMPORTANT: Internships without authorization and without any linkage to a course that carries credit are considered a violation of your F-1 status and your I-20 might be terminated due to unauthorized employment even if the internship is unpaid. 

In order to apply for CPT, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1


  • Complete Online  CPT Training Workshop
  • Compile ALL required documents-as per the Workshop and the CPT Checklist
  • Make an appointment with an ISSS advisor
  • Upload all the documents on the checklist to the ISSS E-Forms Portal
  • Meet with ISSS advisor to get the approval for CPT

Step 2


  • Receive a new I-20 (with CPT noted)
  • Get a Social Security Number (if you do not have one) Use this sample letter.
  • If you already have a SSN, then you will only need an Employment Letter. See this sample letter.
  • You can ONLY start your CPT/Internship ONCE you have been approved by ISSS and you have a SSN.

Step 3


    • Once the semester ends- your CPT ends-NO EXCEPTIONS

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