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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is designed to provide eligible students with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience that is "an integral part of an established curriculum." Such training is defined 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." Training must be a requirement or an integral part of your degree. This is determined by your academic advisor or department.

At a minimum, qualifying Curricular Practical Training involves employment experience with courses that carry academic credit, are listed in the University’s regular bulletin of course offerings and have a faculty member assigned to teach the course. It is particularly important that any employment experience required by the course be instrumental to achieving a curricular academic objective.  A course offered for the primary purpose of facilitating employment authorization does not qualify for CPT.

Another example of qualifying CPT would be an instance of a graduate student engaged in research that is integral to a thesis or dissertation. The research should involve innovative technology available only at a particular corporation’s research facilities or to collect data or experience essential for completion of a thesis or dissertation.  All required coursework for the degree must be completed to use this form of CPT. Such students must be registered for at least 1 credit hour of thesis/dissertation research each quarter (except summer) during the CPT authorization. You must complete one academic year (3 quarters) as a full-time student and hold F-1 status before you are eligible to start CPT.  There is an exception for graduate students who are required by the program to start a co-op or internship during the first three quarters of study.

CPT Authorization

In order to obtain employment authorization for Curricular Practical Training, you must have completed one academic year (3 quarters) in lawful status and currently be in F-1 status. There is an exception to this rule for graduate students who are required to complete a co-op or internship during the first year of study. You should submit a Curricular Practical Training eForm at under the F-1 Services link. The request will require certification by your academic/co-op advisor explaining how the work is necessary completion of your program. The authorization will take 5 business days to process from the date of certification by your advisor.

If you are determined to be eligible, UC International Services will authorize your CPT. With this authorization you can begin your employment. You are not eligible to work until you receive this authorization from UC International Services. No other authorization is required for CPT. You are not limited in the amount of Curricular Practical Training you may utilize. However, students who have engaged in one (1) year or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Typically, your request will take 5 working days to process so please plan ahead.

You can view a video tutorial outlining the process of applying for the CPT below.