Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 students to participate in paid off-campus academic internships during their degree program. The purpose of CPT is academic, not just for employment purposes and the internship must be an integral part of a student’s degree program.

Unpaid Internships: If the internship is an unpaid or volunteer, CPT is not required. However, students cannot accept any kind of compensation for work performed in an unpaid internship without work permission. You should obtain a letter confirming that you received no compensation of any kind for your work and you should keep this letter for your records. Practical Training provides the opportunity to be employed during your time in F-1 status. Working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your status. IPO recommends that you obtain work permission even for an unpaid internship.

Eligibility for CPT:

  • You must be in your degree program and have been a full-time student for at least one academic year (two consecutive semesters) by the requested CPT start date
  • You must be maintaining valid F-1 status at the time of the application
  • The internship must be an integral part of your established curriculum with academic oversight
  • The employment must be directly related to the your major field of study

CPT Usage:

  • Full-time CPT: During official university breaks and vacations, CPT can be full-time or part-time. Immigration considers anything over 20 hours per week to be full-time. If a student participates in more than 12 months of full-time CPT, they become ineligible for Optional Practical Training.
  • Part-time CPT: During the academic year, CPT is limited to part-time. Immigration considers part-time to be 20 hours or less per week.

CPT Application Process: IPO authorizes CPT. You must receive authorization (in the form of a new CPT I-20) BEFORE you may begin working. Follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Be Informed. Read the CPT handout* carefully. With questions, consult the International Programs Office.

STEP 2: Meet with your Academic Advisor to ensure an internship is an integral part of your curriculum.

STEP 3: Obtain a job offer letter. The information below must be included in your offer letter. (If your offer letter is missing any of the required information, you must either request a new letter or obtain a supplemental email with the missing information.)

  • Employer name
  • Employer address where you will be working (must be a physical address, cannot be a PO Box)
  • Stat date of internship
  • End date of internship
  • Number of hours per week you will be working

STEP 4: Register for the internship course.

STEP 5: Submit a complete CPT Application to the IPO front desk. The CPT I-20 will be issued in 3 business days.

  • CPT Recommendation Form*
  • Job offer letter
  • Printout showing your enrollment in the internship course
  • STEM and Business students must also submit a copy of the completed YSU Professional Practice Agreement