Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be an important part of your studies as well as relevant to the degree objective. In order to participate in CPT you must be enrolled as a full-time student.

CPT may be part-time or full-time. It is important to understand that if you participate in twelve months or more of “full-time” CPT, you will lose your eligibility to apply for twelve months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after you graduate. Time spent on full-time CPT is cumulative.

Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time CPT; employment of more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time CPT. There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT but you must be careful to limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week. Exception: You may work full-time during official school breaks (i.e., annual vacation and other times when school is not in session).

Authorization Procedures for CPT

Authorization for CPT must be granted by your Designated School Official (DSO) before you can begin working. CPT is usually granted for one semester or term. You may only work for the time period authorized on your I-20. However, you may request to extend your CPT. You must extend your CPT before your work authorization expires. You must submit a new letter of employment which states you will be continuing your employment (and include the information listed below). Please be sure to request your extension at least 2 weeks prior to the employment expiration date on your I-20.

At least 2 weeks prior to start of employment or extension, you must bring your letter to the Admissions Office. If your letter is complete, your DSO will enter your CPT employment authorization into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You will be notified when your new I-20 is ready for pick-up. You may not accept any offer of employment or begin employment until you have been given approval to work by your DSO and you have received your new I-20.

Employment letter must be submitted on official letterhead only and must include the following information (See sample letter):

  • place of employment (full name and address of employer and telephone number)
  • job title
  • dates of employment
  • number of work hours per week
  • brief description of type of employment and name of supervisor

An incomplete employment letter may result in a delay of employment start date or employment extension.


(Employer’s Sample Letter)





Dear (student):

This letter is to confirm that (company name) is offering or extending you/your employment as (job title – must be relevant to your degree). Your employment will begin on (specific date employment begins or date of extension) and will continue until (enter date – maximum of 4 months). You will be employed (number of hours per week – maximum of 20 hours while school is in session) per week.


Provide name of supervisor and a brief description of duties.


Provide location of employment (address, city, state, zip code – address cannot be a P.O. Box) and telephone number




Name and Title


NOTE: Only letters on official letterhead and original signature will be accepted.