Page last updated on October 3, 2016
What is Curricular Practical Training?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a legal means by which F-1 students can obtain off-campus employment when the experience is considered to be an integral part of the student’s course of study. CPT can take the form of a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or other experience which is required for the major, or where course credit is granted. The objective of CPT is not financial but is to gain practical experience that is integral to your course of study. Students can use only up to 12 months of CPT during their time at Pitzer.
ELIGIBILITY: You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year (9 months), currently be in F-1 status, and demonstrate that the internship/experience is integral to your course of study. In addition, you may not have previously used more than twelve months of full-time curricular practical training.
WHEN TO APPLY: You must apply for CPT BEFORE your internship begins.
APPLYING FOR CPT: First, make an appointment to see the International Student Adviser to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, then you will need to provide the necessary materials:
Letter from organization – Letter should be on organization letterhead and have start and end dates for what you will be doing. Email from official email address also acceptable (but should not be from a yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. domain)
Letter from your faculty adviser – Needs to assert that internship/practicum/etc. is integral to course of study and their approval/recommendation for you to participate
Independent Study – You will need to do an independent study with your faculty adviser about your internship – what you did, how it fits in with your course of study and/or how it raises topics or questions relevant to your course of study. This should take place the semester after the internship (Fall semester if done in the summer, Spring semester if done during the winter) and can be a ¼, ½ or full credit, depending on what you arrange with your adviser.
Once you have provided these things, the International Student Adviser will print out an updated CPT I-20 for you.
Things to Consider
- Make sure you let your International Student Adviser know ahead of time that you are planning to do this internship, and you have enough time to work out details with your faculty adviser and get approved before the internship starts.
- Keep your updated CPT I-20 safe. If you use CPT multiple times, please make sure to save all I-20s. You may need them later if you decide to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Keep track of the amount of time you use for CPT. Get in touch with your international student adviser if you are approaching 12 months total (not just for this particular summer or winter).