Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is designed to provide eligible students with employment/training experiences that are part of an established curriculum.
Training must be a requirement or an integral part of your degree, as determined by your academic advisor or department. A qualifying CPT involves employment experience that carries academic credit, is listed in UC's course offerings and has a faculty member assigned to it. This could include:
- alternate work/study
- cooperative education
- any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school
- graduate student research for a thesis or dissertation
A course offered for the primary purpose of facilitating employment authorization does not qualify for CPT.
If you are 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 the collection of data or experience essential for your thesis or dissertation. All required coursework for the degree must be completed to use this form of CPT.
Find a Job in the U.S.
Part of the CPT process will involve finding a job in the United States. While you may use other connections and websites to find positions, UC has a resource for its students called Handshake. Using this portal, you can find co-ops, internships and post-graduation jobs that best match your career path.
In this video from Experience-Based Learning and Career Education, learn how to use Handshake to find employers who will sponsor international students, don't require a U.S. work visa and accept students on CPT.
CPT is required for each training / employment experience used to fulfill a co-op requirement. These include paid or unpaid experiences as well as co-op alternatives like Experiential Exploration Programs (EEPs), service learning, international experiences, study abroad, etc. This also includes all work/training taking place on campus.
In all cases, submit the CPT eForm to UC International using iBearcatsGlobal.
If your employment/training is taking place outside the U.S., CPT will not need to be issued, but you need to submit the CPT eForm in iBearcatsGlobal so UC International can record your co-op participation and keep your SEVIS record active.
If the training/employment is taking place to fulfill an Internship/capstone or other curricular option, CPT is required for each experience, paid or unpaid.
You will need to enroll in the appropriate internship/capstone or other course for each term the employment/training is taking place.
If the training/employment is necessary for completion of a thesis or dissertation, CPT is required for each semester the employment/training will take place.
You are required to enroll in 1 credit hour of thesis/dissertation research for each semester the employment/training will take place except for the summer. If the employment/training will take place during summer term only, then you may enroll in whatever research credit is necessary in the summer term.
The employment/training must be an integral part of the program of study. CPT is required for all paid employment/training opportunities.
CPT may be required for non-paid training opportunities. Students and academic units must consult with UC International for the appropriate procedures regarding all non-paid opportunities to determine if CPT is required. If CPT is required, enrollment in the appropriate course is needed for each term the training will take place.
Apply for CPT Authorization
F-1 students are eligible for CPT if they have complete one academic year (two semesters) as a full-time student.
Graduate students have an exception if they are required by their degree program to start a co-op or internship during their first two semesters.
If you meet these qualifications, you may apply for work authorization.
- Receive an offer letter from your employer that establishes, at minimum, the title, job duties, dates of employment, name and address of employer, and salary.
- Submit a Curricular Practical Training eForm in iBearcatsGlobal.
- Receive certification by your academic/co-op advisor explaining how the work is necessary to complete your degree. After your advisor completes the certification, the authorization takes 5 business days to process.
- Receive authorization from UC International. 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 a year or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
On your first day of work, you will complete an I-9 form with your employer. It certifies how you are authorized to work in the US. The two most common questions about this form are answered below:
- In Section 1, "An alien authorized to work", your Admission # is your I-94 card number.
- In Section 2, CPT falls under the category of "List A", document #4: Unexpired foreign passport, with Form I-94 indicating unexpired employment authorization. This section is to be completed by the employer, not the student.
You are authorized to work with the company, at the location, during the dates stated clearly on page #3 of your I-20. If anything should change in any of the details, UC International will need to authorize such changes.
For example, if you wish to work beyond the authorized period of employment, the employer is going to transfer you to another location, or you are going to work full-time instead of part-time, UC International will need to make these alterations to your authorization.
Your academic / co-op advisor will need to put any changes into writing and send them to UC International.
If you wish to take part in a new period of CPT, submit the CPT Request eForm again or get a letter from your advisor explaining the changes. The advisor's letter must be received by UC International Services prior to you starting work under the changed conditions.
Remember, it will take several business days to process your request. Plan ahead!
While on CPT you are still in F-1 status. Please make sure that you are following all of the rules to maintain your status.
You can travel in and out of the United States while on CPT as long as you get your I-20 signed for travel authorization by UC International.
You are still covered under University Student Health Insurance during your period of CPT. Your employer may need to know this if you wish to waive their health benefits.
Alternatively, if you wish to use your employer’s health benefits and wish to waive the University Student Health Insurance for the period you are on CPT, you will need to apply for a waiver prior to the deadline.