Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off-campus, paid or unpaid employment that is a required or integral part of your program's curriculum.

F-1 international students can request CPT only if they are in a program that requires an internship or practical training, or there is a required or optional course that has a practical training component. 

  • CPT for a Degree Requirement: CPT can be authorized if the program requires a number of hours of practical training in order to complete the degree.
  • CPT for a Course Requirement: CPT can be authorized if the student enrolls in a course for the degree/major and the course requires practical training to be completed.

CPT is not available for all academic majors. Refer to the USF catalog of classes or consult with your academic advisor regarding internships or practical experience for your degree.

If you have determined that your program does allow you to pursue CPT, you will need to submit the following to ISSS via your MyISSS account:

  1. Name and email of your academic advisor or course instructor, depending on your program, who will submit the online approver form in the MyISSS CPT request. When you complete the CPT request there will be a place to enter this person's email and the system will send an electronic form for them to complete. Before sending the approval to your advisor make sure you have provided them with your employment offer letter and they know if you are requesting part-time or full-time CPT and your correct CPT dates.
  2. A CPT letter from your employer
  3. Proof of course enrollment in the USF internship course (if applicable)

More on CPT:

A student needs to be a full-time F1 student for an academic year (2 full semesters) before they are eligible to apply for CPT. The only exception to this is for graduate students whose program requires practical training in the first academic year.

Additionally, the program curriculum as listed in the USF course catalog needs to show that practical training is part of the degree or part of a course for the degree. To determine this, first, visit the USF course catalog and see if any of the courses for your program have a practical training component, or if there is a requirement in the degree to complete practical training (that is not part of a class). If you have questions you can ask your academic advisor or program staff.

Your CPT Recommendation Form should be completed by a USF staff member who is familiar with your program’s practical training requirement or practical training course. This USF staff member  can be your academic advisor, academic director, or course instructor. Your ISSS advisor cannot complete this form.

Undergraduate students  in the School of Management:
If you are enrolled in BUS 198, list Deanna Pachinger, the Associate Dean for Faculty and Student Academic Services in the Center for Academic and Student Achievement as the recommender.
For other classes in the School of Management, list the Academic Director of your program or your SOM Faculty Advisor.

Your employer will need to write you a CPT Employer Letter by following this template. ISSS will need all employment details and acknowledgement of CPT listed on the template to authorize you for CPT.

The purpose of this letter is to verify your employment details and the connection between your employment and academic program for your CPT authorization. Please note that the CPT Employer Letter is NOT a contract or an official offer of employment. 
In the letter, the employment end date can be beyond the latest possible CPT end date for the semester. However, please note that you can only work during the authorized CPT dates listed on your I-20. (See more about CPT authorization dates in the section on Authorization Dates for CPT). If needed, you can use the same letter in a future CPT request. 

*Students should provide their USF academic advisor or course instructor, depending on your program, with the CPT Employer Letter before sending them the CPT recommendation form to complete. The letter also needs to be uploaded to the CPT request in MyISSS.

Full-Time CPT is employment that is over 20 hours per week.
Part-time CPT is employment that is 20 hours or less per week.

Eligibility for full-time or part-time CPT depends on the specific program requirement and how many hours are needed to complete the program requirement. Students will need to consult their program to determine if they are eligible for part-time or full-time CPT.

The CPT dates that you can be authorized for will depend on if you are applying for CPT based on a course requirement or a degree requirement. ISSS can only authorize CPT to start in the future, we cannot authorize CPT in the past. You cannot start working until the CPT start date listed on your I-20.

Course requirement dates: Most programs have course requirements that allow for CPT. In this case, you can be authorized for the semester that you are enrolled in the course. The earliest CPT start date will be the start date of the semester, or in some cases the day after the end date of the previous semester. The latest possible CPT end date would be the day that grades are due for that semester, or your I-20 program end date, whichever is earlier.

Course based CPT dates by term (refer to the USF academic calendar for current dates):

  • Fall CPT can start day after last day of summer session
  • Spring CPT can start as early as first day of intersession
  • Summer CPT can start after Spring commencement ends

Degree requirement dates: CPT based on a degree requirement does not need to line up with the semester and depends on what the degree requirement is. Students applying for CPT based on a degree requirement should contact their academic adviser to understand what practical training is required for their degree, how many hours, and when it should take place. ISSS cannot authorize CPT that is longer than an 8 month period and students will need to reapply if they are eligible to extend their CPT. Once a student has completed their practical training degree requirement they can no longer be authorized for CPT based on this degree requirement.

Students should apply to ISSS for CPT at least two weeks before they plan to begin their employment. Please check current ISSS processing times and plan accordingly.

If a student has 365 days or more of full-time CPT, they will lose their OPT benefit for that degree. 364 days or less of full-time CPT, and any number of days of part-time CPT, will not impact a student's OPT eligibility.

CPT does not impact on-campus employment eligibility. 

If a student (or the employer) ends the internship earlier than the authorized employment end date on the I-20, the student is required to inform their ISSS advisor so the updated end date can be reported to the government.