Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or "internship", is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study listed on your I-20. "Practical training" can include employment or internship experience (paid or unpaid).  CPT is authorized by the Immigration Services for Student & Scholar (ISSS) office in accordance with F-1 regulations.  

CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). If you accumulate more than 11 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 11 months of full-time CPT authorization, does not affect your OPT eligibility.

Curricular Practical Training is intended to be an important element of an educational program. It is not to be seen or used as a convenient means to circumvent employment restrictions.

CPT is employer specific.  Authorization is documented through SEVIS, the federal government data base, for a specific employer at a specific location for a specified period of time.


You may be eligible for CPT if you:

  • Are currently in valid F-1 status (active).
  • In good academic standing - not on probation
  • Have been enrolled full time in a degree granting program at the University of Dallas, and completed one academic year of curriculum within your program.

 Please note:  "An academic year" for students on the semester calendar is 9 months.  “An academic year” for students on the trimester calendar, is two consecutive trimesters.

CPT Application Steps

  1. Confirm that you are eligible for CPT with the Immigration Services for Students & Scholars Office (ISSS). See eligibility requirements above.
  2. Secure employment for future date with accompanying Offer Letter. Your offer letter should include
    • The job offer needs to be on the company letterhead and should include:
      • Start date 
      • Your job title, to include your job description
      • Confirmation of your employment status (full-time or part-time)
      • Name of your supervisor along with their contact information to include telephone number and email address

  3. Complete your Internship Proposal. The proposal should include:
    • How the job relates to your course work
    • What you are going to learn
    • How it relates to your career goals

  4. Identify a full-time faculty member in your area of study to serve as your CPT Faculty Supervisor. Present your Preliminary Internship Application, Offer Letter, and Internship Proposal.
    • If the faculty member agrees to serve as your CPT Faculty Supervisor, please have he/she sign page two of your Internship Proposal.

  5. After obtaining the signature of your CPT Faculty Supervisor, request that the Dean sign page two as well for final approval.

  6. Request that the Registrar’s Office (Cardinal Farrell Hall) create a course for your internship and sign your Internship Proposal. Please be sure to take your Preliminary Application and Internship Proposal with you to the Registrar's Office to confirm your CPT Eligbility. 

  7. When steps 5-6 have been completed, proceed to the CPT Application, where you will upload your Preliminary Internship Application, Offer Letter and completed Internship Proposal.

  8. After review of your CPT application documents, ISSS will update your SEVIS record and issue you a new I-20.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work full time while on CPT?

  • In order to work full time you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Part time CPT you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

CPT or “internship” is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study listed on your I-20.  CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate.

OPT is optional and is offered so graduating students may seek employment with a company based in the United States after they have completed their program.  OPT is not employer specific; however you will need to acquire a position related to your major field of study listed on your I-20.


Do I have to be registered while on CPT?

You must maintain F-1 student status, which generally requires full-time registration.

Does CPT usage affect OPT eligibility?

You may use up to 11 months of CPT without affecting your OPT eligibility.  Using more than 11 months will make you ineligible 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.

Additionally, you will not be able to change your hours from part time to full time until the following term when your GPA can be confirmed.

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 your ISSS adviser 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 3 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.