Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is paid or unpaid training that is part of an established curriculum in your course of study that must occur before you complete all of the requirements for your degree. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines Curricular Practical Training as follows:

“An F-1 student may be authorized by the Designated School Official (DSO) to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” *8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i)]


To be eligible to engage in CPT, you must:

  • Be an F-1 student in lawful status for at least one full academic year at Rowan University (An exception exists for graduate students enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in a curricular practical training.)
  • Be making normal progress toward the completion of your degree
  • You have a job offer from a specific employer with established employment start and end dates. The job must be directly related to your field of study and commensurate with your degree level
  • Have been offered a specific training opportunity which falls into one of the following categories:
    • The training employment is required of ALL students in the program and is necessary for the completion of your degree. Included in this category is employment in a required internship or practicum
    • The training employment will result in academic credit in an elective course specifically designed to award academic credit for employment experience. The internship elective must be listed in Rowan’s course catalog and must state in the official course description that it is specifically designed to allow students to engage in off-campus internships. NOTE: You must register and complete the CPT-related course during the semester that you are working under CPT authorization.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

  • You may only engage in CPT on a part-time basis (limited to no more than 20 hours per week) during the academic year when classes are in session.
  • You may engage in CPT on a full-time basis during summer vacation if you are registered for at least one credit related to the CPT you will pursue.
  • Doctoral/graduate students who have completed all degree requirements, except their dissertation/thesis, may receive full-time CPT in order to complete their research.
  • Students who have received 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Applying for CPT

Please log in to Terra Dotta to view step-by-step instructions for the application process and to submit your Curricular Practical Training request. 

Important Rules

  • Do not begin CPT training until you receive your new I-20 with your CPT authorization from the International Center.
  • Your CPT authorization is valid only for the specific employer, location, and time period, and on a part-time or full-time basis approved and recorded by an International Center advisor.
  • You may not continue CPT training beyond the date authorized on your I-20 unless you apply and are granted an extension from the International Center.
  • CPT authorization is granted for specific dates and for a specific employer. A new application is required if there is any change of employer, location of employment, or employment end date. Please submit an updated employment letter to

Social Security Number

If you are participating in paid CPT, you must obtain a Social Security Number. Please refer to Social Security information for more details. Note that you may apply for a SSN up to 30 days prior to your CPT start date. In addition to other required documents necessary to apply for a SSN, you will also need your CPT I-20 and an employment letter.

CPT Vs. OPT Summary

Please click here for a summary of the differences between CPT and OPT.