Curricular Practical Training is off-campus work, full or part-time, paid or unpaid which is supervised, and for which a student earns academic credit in their MAJOR toward a U.S.M. degree. This may also be referred to as an internship or externship. Students must register for the appropriate USM credit for the same semester they are actually completing the CPT experience. Students on F-1 visas who have been in status for at least 1 full academic year may participate in Curricular Practical Training.

A few rules about CPT

  • The experience must relate directly to the student’s major area of study and be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum.
  • Student must have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year in order to be eligible to participate in CPT.
  • During the semester CPT is limited to part time (20 hours per week or less).
  • Full time CPT is allowable for the summer break.
  • Students must obtain approval for CPT from the Office of International Programs before beginning any off campus work.
  • Students must enroll in the corresponding course for the same semester as their approved CPT (internship).
  • One year or more of FULL TIME CPT will eliminate a student’s eligibility for OPT at the same educational level.

Note: CPT is approved for a specific employer, job and time period. Any proposed change of employers must be approved and documented

What are the steps for authorization of CPT?

Students must provide the following items to the Office of International Programs in order to receive approval for an internship/externship (Curricular Practical Training):

  • A job description from their employer detailing the duties of the proposed curricular practical training. The job description should also include the requested start date, the end date and the expected number of hours per week the student would be expected to work.
  • A letter from their faculty advisor recommending the student for curricular practical training. Sample letter available here.
  • A completed Curricular Practical Training Form (if the department already uses their own form with the same information that may be substituted.)

Once students have provided these items and enrollment in the appropriate course has been verified the Office of International Programs will issue the student a new I-20 authorizing the internship for the specific employer.