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 (Navigate to the left menu - Requests - to find the request type):

  1. Name and email of your academic advisor who will complete the recommendation form. Before sending the recommendation to your advisor make sure you have provided them your employment offer letter and they know if you are requesting part-time or full-time CPT and your correct CPT dates.
  2. A 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.

The letter from your employer will need to include the following in order for ISSS to authorize CPT:

  • Employer letterhead
  • Employer address
  • Full name of student
  • Employer contact information
  • Job Title
  • Job Description
  • Number of hours expected to work per week (full-time is over 20 hours, part-time is 20 and under)
  • Start date and end date of employment (the start date needs to be in the future from when you submit your CPT application).

*Students should provide their USF adviser with the employment 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.

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.