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 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 submit the following documentation to the International Center:

  • Copies of current immigration documents
    • Passport (biographical data, photo, & expiration date pages)
    • I-94 
  • CPT Recommendation FormThis form must be completed by the student, reviewed and signed by your academic advisor.
  • Affiliation Agreement (if applicable)
    This must be signed by your employer if no previous agreement is on file with Rowan University.
    Please return the agreement to both the faculty member teaching the internship course and
    email a copy to
  • Letter from the faculty member who will supervise your internship stating:
    • Student’s name, major, degree level, anticipated graduation date, semester of course enrollment, number of hours per week
    • How the specific internship is an integral part of the student’s curriculum
    • The specific degree requirement or elective course that it satisfies including number of credits awarded
    • Description of proposed employment
    • The minimum requirements to complete the CPT
    • A reasonable period of time needed to complete the internship (e.g., satisfying the requirements of a 1 semester, 3 credit course that would normally be done in 1 semester or less).
  • Offer letter from the employer with the following information:
    • Beginning and ending dates of employment
    • Number of hours per week
    • Position title and description of duties in sufficient detail to clearly show that you are meeting the requirements of your degree
    • Location where employment will take place
    • Your supervisor's name and phone number
    • For an example of what the offer letter should look like, please click here
  • The International Center will review your application for eligibility. If your CPT is authorized, an International Student Advisor will issue you a new I-20 form showing the approved CPT and update your SEVIS record.

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, time period and on the 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.