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Curricular practical training

Curricular practical training is an employment authorization that allows F-1 students to work off-campus in a work/study program. This may include an internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with MU.

In order to be approved for CPT, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Internship must be related to your field of study.
  • Internship must be required by the department or adviser.
  • You must receive academic credit and a grade for the internship.
  • Because CPT is employer-specific, you must have been offered a position in writing before CPT can be approved. The employment can be paid or unpaid.

During the fall and spring semesters, you are only eligible to engage in part-time CPT (20 hours per week or fewer). During the summer and official school breaks, you are eligible to engage in full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week).

CPT application process

Before beginning the applications process, you should review the frequently asked questions and the International Center's online CPT workshop.

After receiving a job or internship offer that is related to your field of study and required by your department or adviser:

  • Meet with your academic adviser and have him/her complete the Academic Adviser Recommendation for CPT.
  • Enroll in the CPT course for the semester(s) in which you are applying for CPT.
    • Most students enroll in an internship, practicum, independent study or problems course for CPT. It is up to you and your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate course.
    • Graduate students: If you are working on your thesis or dissertation and the CPT employment will provide data for your research project, you may enroll in research credit hours to count as the CPT course. This will require a letter of explanation from your academic adviser.
  • Submit an online CPT request to the International Center. You can submit the following required supporting documents either online with your request or at the International Center front desk:
  • Wait up to five business days while your request is processed.
  • Receive your new I-20 with CPT authorization on the third page.

Things to remember

  • Full-time CPT for 12 months or more cancels out your eligibility for OPT.
  • You may be authorized for as much part-time CPT as is necessary for your program.
  • Even if the internship is unpaid, you must still obtain CPT authorization.
  • CPT can only be authorized for a specific job; the job cannot change during CPT.
  • You cannot begin employment until you receive your new I-20 and the CPT start date has passed.