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Washington State University
International On Campus

Curricular Practical Training

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.

Training is an integral part of an established curriculum.

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).

Watch the 45-minute CPT Workshop Spring 2021 here.


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

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.


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!


Complete and Submit the 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 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.


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 for pick up.


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.

CPT and OPT Comparison

CPT—Curricular Practical Training: Enables F-1 students to engage in off-campus employment or an internship that is integral to completion of their academic program
OPT—Optional Practical Training: Enables eligible F-1 students to engage in employment or internships within their major area of study

When do you participate?

CPT: After completing at least 1 full academic year, but before finishing your degree program
OPT: Most often after completion of a degree program or graduate course work, but may be during a program as well


You must be enrolled full-time under lawful F-1 status for 1 full academic year prior to training. Graduate students whose program requires immediate participation in training are exempt from the 1-year prior enrollment requirement.


  • Requires a job offer
  • You are authorized to work for a specific employer only
  • 12 months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT at the same educational level
  • The internship must be a documented part of your program of study’s curriculum


  • Graduate students who have completed all required courses and passed their preliminary exams are eligible to start OPT
  • Maximum of 12 months of full-time work for post-completion OPT. If you are in a STEM degree program, you may be eligible for a 24-month extension

Enrollment Requirements


Part-time employment (up to 20 hours per week):

  • Full-time enrollment is required during the academic year

Full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week):

  • Enrolled part-time or full-time
  • Minimum credits determined by your academic department


Graduate student pre-completion OPT

  • Employment may be part-time or full-time (part-time authorization will apply to the 12-month limit at 0.5 times the full-time rate)
  • Enrollment is not required for immigration purposes

Post-completion OPT

  • Full-time employment only (20+ hours per week)
  • Any volunteer position used to satisfy the minimum 20 hours per week of employment to avoid accruing 90 days of unemployment must be directly related to the student’s major field of study



Apply for CPT through the WSU Office of 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 Office of 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


Apply for OPT through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Processing may take up to 3 months. There is a $410 fee (subject to change).

Upon approval, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document.

Your academic program will:

  • Verify completion of all required courses for the program (for graduate students who are ABD)
  • Verify your expected program completion date (for post-completion OPT)

WSU Office of International Programs will:

  • Verify your eligibility
  • Recommend OPT in SEVIS

For more information on Pre-Completion OPT, please contact IP-International Student and Scholar Services.

How CPT can Affect OPT Eligibility

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.