Regulations by USCIS law state that Curricular Practical Training must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” They define curricular practical training as “alternate work/study internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with school.” 8.C.F.R. § 214.2 (f) (10) (i)
In summary, the rules are as follows:
The student must have been enrolled full-time in school in F-1 status for at least 9 months (one academic year) and at least one full semester in this college.
The training must be an important and integral part of the student’s program of study.
The training must be part of a course, which is either required by the student’s degree program, or part of a course for which the student receives academic credit.
The course must be listed in the college catalog and within the same program of study. For example, a student who is seeking a degree in COSC can only take a CO-OP course with the prefix COSC.
The training may be either full-time or part-time. Part-time curricular practical training may total one year without affecting post-degree practical training. Part-time CPT does not affect a student’s post-degree practical training. Full-time CPT for more than 12 months will make student ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Part-time curricular practical training is limited to 20 hours per week and requires full-time enrollment at school. A student may not work part-time on campus while engaged in part-time curricular practical training.
Full-time curricular practical training is only allowed in the final semester of study and requires at least part-time enrollment (6 hours of regular + 3 hours CO-OP class) at school in order to keep the student’s F-1 status valid. The student must be enrolled in the course to which the curricular practical training is related. There is no restriction on being enrolled full-time (12 hours) at school while working in full-time curricular practical training.
Work authorization is granted by the International Student Advisor for a specific employer for a specific period of time, corresponding to each semester.
In order to grant work authorization, the International Student Advisor must have a Curricular Practical Training Form completed by the academic department describing the work experience, naming the employer, specifying the dates of employment, and indicating how the department will oversee the work experience. A Curricular Practical Training Form for the academic department to complete is attached.
The student must be in good standing with USCIS and have an over all GPA of 2.5 to qualify.
Find a job that qualifies for curricular practical training.
Get an employment letter on company letterhead, which states job description (full-time or part-time), dates of employment, and physical location of your employment.
Request a letter from the supervising professor, which includes all the information in the attached form.
Enroll in a course, which allows curricular practical training.
If the International Student Advisor determines that you are eligible for curricular practical training, you will be issued an I-20 with the work authorization on page 3 of your I-20.
Please Note: You must not work without this authorization. Working without the consent and approval of the International Student Advisor can seriously jeopardize your status with USCIS and you could be subject to deportation proceedings. Working without authorization by the International Student Advisor is failure to maintain compliance with USCIS rules and regulations.