Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or another type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school" [8 CFR214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. According to SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program), "'integral part of an establish curriculum' means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must receive credit for the training."

Types of CPT

Degree Requirement

CPT may be authorized when the employment/internship is required by every student in the degree program in order to obtain that degree at UCSC. Class credit is not necessary for students in this situation. Students whose degrees require employment/internships may apply for CPT immediately after starting at UCSC.

Course Credit

CPT may also be authorized for students who enroll in a course (often an independent study, research course, or field work) where they will receive credit for the employment, and the employment is integral to their doctoral dissertation or master’s project/thesis.

This type of CPT is authorized on a quarterly basis, and students must reapply each term. If a student wishes to work for a period longer than the last day of the term, s/he must be enrolled in the next available term before authorization can be extended.

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Am I Eligible?

To be approved for CPT, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status;
  • Have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (3 quarters). The only exception will be for F-1 students who must work as a requirement for their degree program;
  • Undergradute students must have officially declared a major, proposed major does not count
  • Be registered full-time at UCSC. CPT cannot be used when a student is on filing fee status, or after you have graduated;
  • Have secured a job/intership in your field of study that is a required or integral part of your program.

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When Can I Begin My Employment/Internship?

You can only begin working only AFTER you have received CPT authorization from ISSS. CPT authorization cannot be back-dated, and your employment/internship is limited to your CPT authorization dates and employer. If you wish to extend your CPT, add an employer, or change employers, you must submit an updated CPT application at least 2 weeks beforehand. 

Earliest start date: Can start as early as day AFTER end of classes during term prior to CPT (i.e CPT in Winter, can start day AFTER fall quarter ends per UCSC Academic/futures calendar)

Latest end date: Allowed up until day prior to first day of instruction for upcoming term following CPT

Summer: Full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week) is allowed for all continuing students in the summer. Students must enroll in the appropriate current or next available Summer Sessions course. All students should consult an ISSS Advisor to determine eligibility and dates.

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How Many Hours Per Week Can I Work?

You are limited to part-time CPT (20 hours or less per week) while classes are in session, but may work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during breaks or summer, as long as you are a continuing student. For PhD students who have Advanced to Candidacy you may be elgibile to work full time during any term as long as the work is directly related to your dissertation.

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How to Apply

  1. Review the CPT information and guidelines above.
  2. Obtain an official, signed offer letter that includes the following information:
    • Your first and last name
    • Employer’s name and address
    • Job title
    • Job duties
    • Exact start and end dates of the employment/internship*
    • Expected hours per week (i.e. part-time or full-time)
  3. Proof of enrollment in the appropriate academic course (e.g. independent study), such as your MyUCSC class schedule, unofficial transcript, or independent study petition.
  4. Complete the CPT Request Form and obtain the required signatures from your advisor(s).
  5. Submit your completed CPT Request Form, offer letter, and proof of enrollment to an ISSS advisor.
  6. Pick up your I-20 with CPT authorization. An advisor will email you once it is ready. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing.
*CPT approval is required on a quarterly basis. If your internship is more than one quarter, you will need to resubmit paperwork for each term.

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Changing Employers or Multiple Employers on CPT

CPT is employer-specific. You must apply for a new CPT authorization for each employer.

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Effect on OPT Eligibility

If you receive 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, you are not eligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.

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