Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization directly related to a student’s major field of study. In order to be eligible for CPT a student must receive course credit for the employment or employment must be a required component of the degree program. CPT is work that is temporary in nature. It may not be used as a bridge to full-time, regular employment.

Fast Facts

  • You must complete two long semesters before you are eligible for CPT. The only exceptions are for 1) graduate students enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in an internship and 2) PhD students who are transferring from another institution mid-way through their doctoral program and have been enrolled for two long semesters before enrolling at UT.
  • Part-time CPT is classified as 20 hours per week or less. Full-time CPT is more than 20 hours per week. Working part-time on campus in addition to your part-time CPT will be considered full-time CPT if the cumulative total is over 20 hours per week.
  • If you accumulate more than 12 months of full-time CPT you become ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Accumulating part-time CPT has no effect on OPT eligibility.
  • CPT authorization is date-specific and employer-specific. This means that you may work only during the authorization dates and for the employer listed on your CPT I-20.
  • You must receive CPT authorization before you begin employment. Working prior to obtaining authorization is a violation of your immigration status.
  • Students who qualify as Sponsored Students must first obtain written approval from their program sponsor before beginning any type of employment.

Steps to Apply

  1. Visit your academic advisor to find out if you can take a course for credit or if employment is a required component of your degree program.
  2. Once you obtain an employment offer, request a letter from your employer - printed on company letterhead - with the following information:
    • The employer/company name
    • A specific start date (mm/dd/yyyy). The start date must be a future date from that date it will be approved.
    • A specific end date (mm/dd/yyyy).
    • A job title
    • A brief job description
    • A physical work site address where you will conduct your job
    • Number of hours to be worked per week
    • Letter must be signed by employer
  3. Take your employment letter to your academic advisor and ask him or her to complete the CPT Recommendation Form.
  4. Make a copy of your I-94 Record.
  5. If you have any questions about documents, employment dates, or if you have any other questions about CPT, schedule an appointment with an international student advisor prior to applying for CPT.
  6. Co-op students: co-op students planning to take a UT Extension Co-op course must first schedule an appointment with the insurance advisor to purchase health insurance. Bring proof of insurance to your CPT appointment, or include it with your drop-off documents.
  7. When you're ready with the employment letter, completed CPT Recommendation Form, and I-94 Record, you may apply using one of the following methods:
    • Schedule an appointment to have an advisor review your documents and authorize CPT. If everything is in order, you will leave the appointment with your CPT approval.
    • Submit your CPT application through the link below. Once you complete the online form and upload your documents we will process your CPT application. Please allow 5 business days from your submission for approval. We will email you as soon as your approval is ready. If your work is starting in fewer than 5 days, please make an appointment instead of using the online application.
      • Sponsored students who have a signed billing agreement with the International Office must schedule an appointment for Sponsored Student Advising in order to apply for CPT.

Submit CPT Application

Form

CPT Recommendation Form (PDF) - This International Office form that you and your academic advisor will need to complete in order for the CPT to be authorized by an International Student Advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may apply to use CPT once you've been enrolled for two long semesters and are in valid F-1 status. The only exceptions are for 1) graduate students enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in an internship and 2) PhD students who are transferring from another institution mid-way through their doctoral program and have been enrolled for two long semesters before enrolling at UT.

If you cannot receive credit for the work you do, then you are not eligible for CPT. You would need to consider applying for pre-completion Optional Practical Training in order to accept a paid internship opportunity. Schedule an appointment to meet with an international student advisor to discuss this option.

Generally, no. You must be sure that you do not receive any type of compensation - even non-monetary compensation - for the work that you do. For example, you cannot receive free room and board in exchange for employment without CPT authorization. The work must also be a position that is regularly uncompensated. We recommend that you request a letter from the internship provider that confirms that you are not receiving any type of compensation and that the work is a regularly unpaid position. You do not need to show the letter to ISSS, but you should keep it in your file in case there is a question in the future about the nature of your work.

No. You must first enroll at UT for two long semesters before you are eligible to apply for CPT. The only exceptions are for 1) graduate students enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in an internship and 2) PhD students who are transferring from another institution mid-way through their doctoral program and have been enrolled for two long semesters before enrolling at UT.

We prefer to have all the information in one, single-page letter. However, if the contract has all of the required information, we will accept it. See "Steps to Apply" above for a list of required information.

Use the university's academic calendar as a resource when choosing your start date:

  • If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the spring, then the earliest you may begin working is the day after the university's official graduation date in December and the latest date you may work is the day of the university’s official graduation in May.
  • If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the summer, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the spring graduation in May and the latest is the day of the university’s official graduation in August.
  • If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the fall and using CPT in the summer, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the university's official graduation date in May and the latest is the day before fall classes begin in August.
  • If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the fall and using CPT in the fall, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the university's official graduation date in August and the latest is the day of the University’s official graduation date in December.
  • If you wish to begin your work experience after completing semester final requirements, but before the official graduation date, obtain a letter from your academic or graduate advisor indicating the date that you will complete your semester requirements (last final exam/term paper).

No. You must enroll in a CPT course for each semester you engage in CPT.

If you cannot receive credit for the work you do, then you are not eligible for CPT. You would need to consider applying for pre-completion Optional Practical Training in order to do any additional internship. Schedule an appointment to meet with an international student advisor to discuss this option.