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 established 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 fieldwork) where they will receive credit for the employment, and the employment is integral to their doctoral dissertation or master’s project/thesis.  Standard courses typically do not fit the requirement.

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, they must be enrolled in the next available term before authorization can be extended.


Eligibility

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
  • Undergraduate 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/internship in your field of study that is a required or integral part of your program
  • If an internship is not a requirement of the degree, you will be required to be enrolled in a course, during the term of the CPT, such as independent study, field study or research class (for graduate level students).

Beginning 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 the day AFTER the quarter ends during the 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 the day prior to the first day of instruction for the upcoming term following CPT

Summer: Full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week) is allowed for all continuing students in the summer. Students who enroll in summer as their final term are limited to part-time CPT employment (20 hours or less per week) unless you are a PhD student who has Advanced to Candidacy. Students, where an internship is not a requirement, will be required to be enrolled in a course as mentioned above such as an independent study, field study or research course if a graduate-level student.  Failure to enroll in the required class will result in a denial of CPT approval.


Work hours

During Fall, Winter, Spring Terms: You are limited to part-time CPT (20 hours or less per week) while classes are in session. As long as you meet all CPT eligibility requirements and you are fully enrolled for the term, you are allowed to do both CPT and on-campus employment for up to 20 hours per week each.

For PhD students who have Advanced to Candidacy, you may be eligible for full-time CPT authorization during any term as long as the work is directly related to your dissertation.

During Summer Terms and School Breaks: You may apply for full-time CPT authorization (more than 20 hours per week) during breaks or summer terms (unless Summer is your first or last term as different rules apply).


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
    • If you will be working remotely or at the company address
    • Job title
    • Job duties
    • Exact start and end dates of the employment/internship. End date should reflect the same information on the ISSS request form and what will be issued on the I-20.  If the internship is ongoing, students will be required to obtain a new letter each term with the appropriate end date for that specific term.  This ensures employers, students and all involved are clearly aware this is a quarterly approval*
    • Expected hours per week (i.e. part-time or full-time)
  3. Proof of enrollment in the appropriate academic course (e.g. independent study, field study, etc.), such as your MyUCSC class schedule.
  4. Complete the CPT Request Form and obtain the required signatures from your advisor(s).  If you are working remotely, please ensure you put the physical address where you will be working.
  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 7-10 business days for processing.
*Note: 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.

Changing Employers or Multiple Employers on CPT

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


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.