Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization that permits F-1 students to engage in paid or unpaid training. CPT is defined as alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school which must be "an integral part of an established curriculum" (8 CFR 241.2(f)(10)).  In other words, the opportunity must be required by the academic program, or the student must receive academic credit for the training. 

Students must obtain authorization from the international student advisor and academic advisor to participate in CPT.  CPT approval is required on the I-20 before beginning the training.

Students should consult with their academic advisor or graduate advisor about specific internship courses available in their major. Students may also find the Career Development Center Internships page helpful to find available internship courses in CSULB.

  • Must be in status at the time of the application and have been in lawful F-1 status for one full academic year (nine months) preceding the CPT application.
    • Students in graduate degree programs that require immediate practicum hours are exempted from the one full academic year requirement. Transfer students may use the time spent in lawful F-1 status in the previous school to fulfill this requirement.
  • Must be enrolled for a full course load or approved for reduced course load before applying for CPT.
  • Must have a valid CPT employment/internship/training offer related to the student’s major area of study.
  • Must be in good academic standing (3.0 or higher for Graduate Students and 2.0 or higher for Undergraduates).
  • The training must relate directly to the student's major area of study and be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum.
  • Must enroll in an internship course or equivalent to receive academic credit for training.

Part-Time CPT: Training is limited to 20 hours or less per week. While a student is continuing a degree program, only part-time CPT will be allowed during the Fall or Spring semesters. Part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Full-time CPT: Training hours are more than 20 hours per week. Full-time CPT is available only during the summer. If you accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT you will not be eligible to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

CPT combined with On-Campus Work: You may combine your on-campus employment hours with your CPT authorization, but you may not exceed 20 hours per week combined during the fall and spring terms. Plan accordingly.

CPT Start Date and End Date: CPT training can begin as early as the first day of the semester and must end no later than the last day of the semester. It is your responsibility to inform the internship host organization that your training dates must fall within the academic term dates

Keep in mind that training and/or employment obtained through your F-1 status should never interfere with your studies and your academic progress.


Prepare the following documents to request a CPT I-20 authorization:

  1. Complete the CPT I-20 Request Form [PDF].
  2. Obtain a valid letter from the prospective employer/internship site stating terms of CPT (must follow sample letter on application).
  3. Obtain Department Approval signature, section 4 on the CPT application.
  4. Provide a copy of your class schedule showing full-time enrollment or approved reduced course load. Your class schedule must also show the CPT-approved course listed in the CPT I-20 Request Form.
  5. Provide a copy of the CSULB Catalog description or learning agreement form for the CPT-approved course.
  6. Submit all of the above documents to the ISS advisor using the Online Request Queue.

Do not engage in any off campus paid or unpaid training activity without prior consulting with an International Student Advisor.

  • You may begin curricular practical training only after receiving CPT approval in your new form I-20.
  • You are only authorized to work for the length of time indicated in your new CPT I-20 page 2.
  • You may not change your CPT employer/internship without prior authorization. Work only for the company indicated on your I-20.
  • You may work up to 20 hrs. per week (part-time) during the Fall and Spring semesters and 21+ hrs. per week (full-time) during the Summer Session.
  • You must maintain continuous enrollment in the course linked to the CPT approval when applicable.
  • You must submit a new CPT request for each academic term that you wish to participate in curricular practical training and every time you wish to change employers within the same semester. 
  • All types off campus training activity, required for a class must be approved through the CPT authorization.
  • Students who have received 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training are ineligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT).