Curricular Practical Training

Of major importance

About Curricular Practical Training

Training is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows you to engage in an internship or job that fulfills a requirement for practical and/or field experience in your major field of study. It allows you to be employed in a supervised, temporary position.

You must have prior authorization to engage in any paid or unpaid internship. CPT can be authorized for part time (20 hours or less per week) or full time (more than 20 hours per week).

CPT eligibility

To be eligible for CPT, you must meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • In lawful F-1 status
  • Enrolled full time at WSU in a degree-seeking program for 1 full academic year before your proposed CPT start date. (If you are a graduate student enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in CPT, you are exempted from this requirement)
  • Continuing your enrollment as a student during your CPT (full-time CPT may count as a full course of study)
  • Majoring in a field of study that has internship/off-campus research credits as part of the established curriculum
  • Offered a job

Academic enrollment requirement

You must enroll in academic credits for each term in which you participate in CPT. This includes the summer term.

  • Undergraduate students: 1 credit minimum per semester of CPT internship. HBM students should speak to an International Student and Scholar Services advisor regarding this policy
  • Graduate students: 2 credit minimum per semester of CPT internship, research, or thesis work, with the exception of summer, when only 1 credit enrollment is required

The CPT process

Apply for CPT through WSU International Programs. Processing time is about 1 week. There are no fees. Upon approval, you will be issued a CPT I-20 form.

Your academic department will:

  • Determine whether CPT is an integral part of your academic program
  • Determine enrollment requirements (examples: internship course, research credits)
  • Recommend CPT

WSU International Programs will:

  • Verify your eligibility
  • Determine on a case-by-case basis whether CPT is appropriate if a program does not have a required internship
  • Authorize CPT in SEVIS

How CPT can affect OPT

Full-time CPT
12 or more months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the same educational level.

Part-time CPT
Part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for post-completion OPT.

Not eligible for CPT?
If you are not eligible for CPT, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Talk with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor about OPT opportunities.

How to apply for CPT

Advisors in the WSU Office of International Programs authorize CPT, not the U.S. government. You must apply and receive authorization before starting CPT. Once you submit your application to International Student and Scholar Services, allow up to 7 business days for it to be processed.

1. Check that you meet all eligibility criteria

Speak with your academic advisor to determine if there is an internship option built into your curriculum. If you are a graduate student needing to do research off campus, work with an advisor to determine the type of job needed to meet research requirements.

Once you have established there is a curricular connection for an internship, please speak with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor.

Finally, find an internship!

2. Complete and submit forms in myPassport

Once you have established curricular necessity for internship, spoken with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor, and found an internship, you can begin the CPT application process.

Have your employer complete the Employment Confirmation form (pdf) in myPassport or write a letter verifying your CPT job. You may submit a job offer letter instead of the employment confirmation form as long as the letter includes all the information requested on the confirmation form.

Submit a CPT request in myPassport. Upon submission, your advisor will be asked to provide documentation explaining how this internship is part of your program of study.

3. Pick up a new I-20

After you submit a complete packet, an international student advisor will review your request and will contact you by email with any additional questions or with the decision on your application. If your request is approved, International Student and Scholar Services will contact you by email to inform you that an updated I-20 is ready.

4. Start your CPT

You have authorization to work only at the employer and for the period specified on Page 2 of your new I-20. If you wish to change employers or extend your CPT, you must obtain a new authorization in advance.