Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is training that is either:

  • Required for all candidates for a degree or
  • Required for a course (e.g. Internship, Practicum, Experience Credit, etc.) in a degree program.
    CPT cannot be in a minor or previous major. CPT can be part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours a week).

CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related and integral to a student’s degree of study. It is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization. Traditional volunteer work (e.g. at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter) does not require CPT. However, any internship, even if it is unpaid, requires CPT authorization.

  1. A student must be in valid F-1-status and have been a full-time student in the U.S. for one academic year (Fall and Spring semesters, or Spring and Fall) before participating in CPT.
  2. A student must have a written job offer on company letterhead before applying for CPT.  The job offer must indicate the position, the exact dates of employment, the number of hours per week and the company’s address.
  3. A student must continue to maintain full-time student status for the duration of the CPT.  This means 12 credits per semester for an undergraduate student and 9 credits per semester or securing a Certificate of Full-Time Status for a graduate student.  If it is your final semester and you do not need a full course load to graduate you must complete a last semester memo and turn it in to the Center for International Services.
  4. A student must continue to make normal degree progress, as defined by their department and the Graduate School, while participating in CPT. This could require course-work during the CPT period.  Students should verify that participation in CPT would not interfere with their ability to take courses required for degree completion that may not be taught in subsequent semesters prior to the program end date indicated on their I-20.  CPT should not delay degree completion beyond the program end date listed on the Form I-20.
  5. Approval from the department is required for CPT.  Individual departments may have their own academic requirements for, or limitations on, participation in CPT. Examples include a minimum GPA, a pre-requisite course and/or a number of credits taken in the department's curriculum.

  • Required for the Degree: An internship is a required part of a structured degree program; everyone in the program must do an internship or they will not be able to complete their program. In this case, a student does not need to register for credit for the CPT experience.
  • Integral to the Curriculum: An internship is not a required part of the program's curriculum, but the internship is considered integral to the academic experience. In this case, a student must register for at least one credit per semester of CPT experience.
  • Dissertation Research: A doctoral student must engage in off-campus work to complete research necessary for a Ph.D. Dissertation. In this case, a student must register for GRD 998 and/or a department-specific dissertation credit and file a Certificate of Full Time Status.  The academic department’s recommendation letter must specifically indicate that this CPT experience is for dissertation research.

  • CPT is authorized by semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer).  Therefore, students must submit a new CPT request, including all the necessary documents, for each semester, including summer session(s).
  • Participation in CPT may begin on or after the last day of the previous semester. CPT must end before the first day of the following semester. For example, CPT can be extended through the winter break, but must be complete before the first day of spring semester. Spring semester CPT must end before the first day of summer session, and so on.
  • A student may participate in CPT as much as their program will allow and their academic department will authorize. However, a student will be ineligible for OPT if he/she participates in greater than 364 days of full time CPT.

  1. Attend a Curricular Practical Training Seminar, see the Practical Training Seminars and Processing Schedules for OPT Seminar dates, times and locations.
  2. Secure an internship/practicum/field experience and complete the required paperwork with your department. .
  3. Obtain a Recommendation Letter from your academic advisor or departmental chairperson that indicates that this CPT internship experience is an integral part of your degree program. (Please include all information indicated in the sample.)
  4. Make a copy of your internship offer/placement letter confirming your internship and submit it with your CPT application materials.
  5. Complete and print the Training Data Sheet & Student Responsibility Checklist.  This form is fillable; please type responses directly into it. This will reduce the likelihood that your handwriting will be misunderstood. Read, check, and sign the Student Responsibilities Checklist in the appropriate section.
  6. Come to the Center for International Services during PT processing times (Mondays from 3-5 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.). Bring the above listed documents along with proof that you have registered your CPT experience for credit in the semester(s) it will occur. (e.g., registration form, MySlice registration screen), your original passport, visa, and most recent I-94 Arrival-Departure record.
    • If you are outside of the Syracuse area and cannot come for PT processing, please scan and email the required documents to for processing. Please be sure to select your mailing option and put the correct mailing address on your PT Data Sheet. If you select express mailing, please make sure to follow the instructions on Document Shipping for setting up and paying for express mailing. Note: CPT cannot be processed for individuals outside of the United States.