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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorize F-1 students for a semester of paid or unpaid practical training to gain practical experience that is directly related to their major field of study.

CPT is done for academic credit and is considered an integral part of a student academic program.

Due to the academic nature of CPT, students can be authorized for practical training either part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours a week) during the semester (fall and spring) or during the summer.

CPT authorization dates follow the academic calendar and students are expected to complete their practical training between the first and last day of classes in the semester or throughout the summer term.

 

Eligibility & Application Process

To be eligible for CPT, F-1 students must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Must have been enrolled as a full-time student in a degree seeking program for a minimum of one (1) full academic year (fall and spring) in active immigration status.
    • Graduate students in the LLM practical track or in the Special Education Master’s may apply earlier to fulfil specific program requirements. All other students must meet the one (1) year enrollment requirement to become eligible for CPT.
  2. Must have received an offer for practical training/internship/externship in their major field of study to apply.
  3. All academic credits used for CPT must count towards the minimum number of credits needed for a student’s program completion. Students must consult with their academic advisor/department about their academic eligibility for CPT.
    • SPA and SIS graduate students may consult with their academic advisor on their academic eligibility for the zero credit (091) option

Please follow all the steps by the exact order below:

  1. Contact your academic advisor to discuss your internship offer and academic eligiblity for an internship course:
    1. how your position offer is directly related to your major field of study and is academically relevant. 
    2. your internship start and end dates and number of hours per week.
    3. the number of credits required for your the internship course. Please note that all credits used for the internship course must count towards the minimum number of credits needed for your program completion.
  2. Contact ISSS if any questions about your immigration eligibility for CPT.
  3. Submit the university’s online Internship Registration form. The form is first sent to ISSS, which will sign confirming your immigration eligibility for CPT. The form is re-routed to your faculty supervisor, academic advisor, and the Registrar’s office.
  4. Receive by email a copy of your entire Internship Registration form. Once the Registrar’s office finishes your course enrollment, they will email you a copy of your completed Internship Registration form. Save the email in PDF.
  5. Request CPT employment authorization from ISSS using iEagle. Under "Current Student", click on the "Curricular Practical Training" e-form. Fill out the e-form and upload the PDF copy of your completed Internship Registration form.
     

    The CPT e-form is routed to your academic advisor for initial approval and routed back to ISSS for final approval and CPT employment authorization. We strongly recommend contacting your academic advisor to confirm receipt of this e-form.

  6. Receive a new I-20 with your official CPT employment authorization from ISSS within 3-5 business days after the CPT e-form is received back from your academic advisor. CPT requests for a future semester will be processed closer to the future semester start date.
  7. Begin your internship on the authorized start date only after receiving your new I-20 with the official CPT employment authorization.

JD students enrolling in externship credits, or students enrolling in independent study, practicum, or teaching seminar with a “work component,” or doctorate students enrolled in 899 dissertation research who must be in a job site to collect data or research to progress with their dissertation must follow the steps below to apply for CPT employment authorization.

Please follow all the steps by the exact order below:

  1. Contact your academic advisor or department to discuss your plans and confirm academic eligibility.
  2. Contact ISSS to verify your immigration eligibility for CPT and follow departmental procedures to register for the appropriate class.
  3. Once officially registered in the appropriate class, request CPT employment authorization from ISSS using iEagle. Under "Current Student", click on the "Curricular Practical Training" e-form. Fill out the e-form and upload a copy of your employment letter. The letter must be on company letterhead and include: the internship/externship/job description, address of employment, number of hours of work per week, start and end dates, and contact information.

    Independent study students must also upload a copy of your independent study project agreed upon by you and your faculty supervisor.

    The CPT e-form is routed to your academic advisor/department for initial approval and routed back to ISSS for final approval and CPT employment authorization. We strongly recommend contacting your academic advisor/department to confirm receipt of this e-form.
  4. Receive a new I-20 with your official CPT employment authorization from ISSS within 3-5 business days after the CPT e-form is received back from your academic advisor/department. CPT requests for a future semester will be processed closer to the future semester start date.
  5. Begin your CPT on the authorized start date only after receiving your new I-20 with the official CPT employment authorization.

Please follow all the steps by the exact order below:

  1. Contact your WCL advisor to verify your academic eligibility for the practical track and to discuss your externship offer.
  2. Email ISSS the WCL CPT Approval form. ISSS will sign confirming your immigration eligibility for CPT. Return the form to WCL to register for the externship class. 
  3. Complete the WCL externship contract. The externship contract will be emailed to ISSS for your CPT employment authorization.
  4. Receive a new I-20 with your official CPT employment authorization from ISSS within 3-5 business days after the externship contract is received from WCL. CPT requests for a future semester will be processed closer to the future semester start date.
  5. Begin your CPT on the authorized start date only after receiving your new I-20 with the official CPT employment authorization.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

To receive CPT employment authorization from ISSS students are required to enroll in CPT credits. You must consult with your academic advisor/department about the number of credits available that can be used for CPT as part of your academic program.

You must also discuss your practical training/internship/externship offer with your academic advisor/department. Based on your start and end dates, the number of hours per week, and other additional academic requirements, your academic advisor/department will advise you on the exact number of credits you must enroll for your CPT.

Some students may no longer have academic credits available that can be used for CPT. In this scenario, ISSS cannot authorize CPT employment.

For immigration purposes, F-1 students can be authorized for paid or unpaid off-campus positions that are directly related to their major field of study only.

CPT is most often authorized for short term practical training/internship/externship positions that can fit within the academic calendar.

Please discuss the academic relevance of your practical training/internship/externship offer with your academic advisor/department for initial advice.

No. CPT authorization is employer specific, and you can only work for the employer listed on your CPT I-20 between the authorized dates.

Changing employers while on CPT may impact your ability to fulfill all academic requirements for your CPT class. After receiving academic approval, you may end your current CPT employment authorization and reapply for a new authorization for the new employer. You won’t be able to work until the new authorization is processed.

No. CPT cannot be extended beyond the semester dates, unless for reasons beyond the student’s control, the student could not fulfil all academic requirements for the CPT class in a timely manner.

 

Students granted one year of full-time CPT are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

For immigration purposes, F-1 students can be authorized for CPT in their final semester if they have academic credits available that can be used for CPT as part of their academic program.

All academic credits used for CPT must count towards the minimum number of credits needed for your program completion.

Students planning to apply for Reduced Course Load (RCL) in their final semester must ensure that the CPT credits will count within their RCL credits.

Find Internships

  • The AU Career Center can help international students navigate the US job market. Advisors are available to help you learn how to maximize and market your background and skills.

  • The Kogod Office of Career Engagement specifically works with students pursuing a degree in the Kogod School of Business. The SIS Office of Career Development specifically works with students pursuing a degree in the School of International Services. International students in Kogod or SIS can make an appointment with a career advisor at these offices and utilize resources designed for business or international services students.

  • The Washington College of Law Office of Career & Professional Development helps AU law students find externships and other job opportunities. Career counselors are available to help you with resumes, cover letters, and job search strategies.