• Eligibility Criteria
  • CPT Application Process
  • Overview

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “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 the school.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.  Full-time CPT in the last academic term is not permitted.

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for CPT, you must:

    • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms); or be a graduate student in a program which requires immediate participation.
    • Be in lawful F-1 status.
    • Have a job offer.
    • Document that the employment is necessary to fulfill a degree requirement or that you are earning credit that will count toward degree requirements for the employment (e.g through an internship or practicum course offered by your program).
    • Doctoral students may be eligible for CPT authorization for employment that will directly contribute to their dissertation.

    NOTE: Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements for CPT may be eligible to apply for pre-completion OPT.

    How to apply for CPT

    OIS recommends applying for CPT authorization at least 2 weeks prior to the anticipated start date of employment.

    Step 1: Meet with your academic advisor to inquire about your academic eligibility.

    Step 2: Once you have obtained the job, request a job offer letter from the employer (on company letterhead). The letter should include:

    • Your Name
    • The start date and end date of the internship (keep in mind that CPT can only be authorized one term at a time)
    • Position title
    • Employment site address (street, city, state, and zip code) where you will be working
    • The number of hours to be worked per week. Full-time, more than 20 hours per week, or part-time, 20 hours or less per week.

    Step 3: Log into My OIS

    You must read through the CPT information page (1) which explains what is required to apply.

    Once you have checked off that you understand what is required in order to apply # (1), you will complete #(2) CPT application, which requires you to fill in information regarding your internship, input your academic advisor’s information and upload your job offer letter.

    When you fill out the CPT application on My OIS, your academic advisor will receive an email in order to recommend you for this internship. Once your advisor has responded to the email, we will review and contact you via email once we have made a determination.

    If your application is approved, OIS will issue you a new I-20 within five business days of receipt of all materials.  The CPT authorization will be noted on page 2 of the new I-20. The document authorizes you to work only at the location on the I-20 and per the dates listed. You may not begin employment until you receive this authorization (i.e. CPT I-20).

    Please keep all the I-20s you are issued.

    If you have questions about using My OIS, please refer to our short informational video on our website: http://www.ois.pitt.edu/media/. You can also visit OIS during Walk-In Hours.

    Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

    NOTE: You are authorized to be employed only for the employer, location, and dates specified on the new I-20. Please contact OIS if your employment situation is going to change.

    Return to F-1 Employment Authorization page.