Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

We interpret the Centre Guarantee of an internship opportunity as “established curriculum.” All of our students are eligible for an internship but they must be related to their program of study. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary training authorization for work directly related to your field of study. CPT is authorized by your DSO in accordance with the F-1 regulations. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year (you must remain registered full-time) and during the summer (as long as you register and pay for a one-course credit).

CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). Students may work up to 20 hours a week during an academic term and full-time during breaks. If you accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, you lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT), another type of employment authorization for F-1 students. Part-time CPT and fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization does not affect your OPT eligibility.

CPT is not meant to be a convenient employment opportunity. CPT must have a valid purpose in the student’s program of study.


You may be eligible for CPT if you comply with all of the following:
• Currently in valid F-1 status
• Have been enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year
•Will earn your degree from Centre (visiting exchange students are not eligible for CPT).
Centre requires international students to receive academic credit in order to participate in internships. There are two exceptions to this requirement:
• Internship is during a break and not in the USA.
• Internship is during a leave of absence and not in the USA.

How to Apply

Contact your DSO to learn about applying for CPT. Three things are required before your CPT can be approved—a letter from employer confirming job offer, dates of employment, salary, a detailed job description, and the employer’s address; a completed and approved internship contract (available in Career Services); a statement from advisor addressing the following question: How are the goals and objectives of the employment a part of the goals and objectives of the academic program?


What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
CPT is employment that is an integral part of your curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT must be required or, if not required, you must receive course credit. CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate. OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate.

Does CPT usage affect OPT eligibility?
You may use as much CPT as is required for your degree program. However, if you use a total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are not eligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.

Do I need to have a job to apply for CPT?
You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.

Can I change the number of hours I work?
You can change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, you may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, if you change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) you must request a new authorization.

Can I change employers?
Since CPT is employer specific you must apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.

Can I extend my CPT?
You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. You must apply for an extension in sufficient time to allow the DSO to issue a new CPT authorization before you can continue beyond the end date of your current CPT.

Do I need a Social Security number?
Yes, you will need a Social Security number in order to receive payment from your employer.

Will I be required to pay Social Security and other taxes?
In general, as an F-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for your first five years in the U.S. as long as you continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.
Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home government, your earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.

Will I receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
No. The CPT authorization on page three of your I-20 is your proof of employment eligibility and together with your I-94 card may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by your employer.