Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) enables F-1 students to take part in an internship or other experience that is integral to the curriculum of their degree program.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of work-authorization used for F-1 students to complete off-campus training experiences. The primary purpose of CPT is to gain practical experience in the student's field of study. The training experience must be an integral part of an established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study. Since CPT is curricular in nature, the student must also enroll for a course that requires an off-campus training experience. CPT is not possible for all F-1 students because it is dependent on the academic requirements of a specific academic program.
*Please note that “employment” is defined as any type of service for which a benefit, including academic credit, is received. Therefore, even if the student will not be paid for the internship, they should obtain CPT authorization. We recommend that all students who have an unpaid internship receive authorization for practical training if any of the criteria listed on the New York State Wage Requirements for Interns in For-Profit Businesses apply.
To be eligible for CPT authorization you must meet the following requirements:
- You are currently in F-1 status and maintaining status.
- You have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (two semesters) at a U.S. school.*
- Students who transfer to UB from another U.S. School and who remain at the same academic level may apply for CPT after completing one semester of study in their new program.
- Students who change degree levels within the same field of study may apply for CPT after completing one semester for study in their new program.
- Students who change their field of study must complete one academic year in the new field before they are eligible for CPT.
- Students who return to UB after Post-Completion OPT must complete one academic year in the new degree program before they are eligible for CPT.
- You have an internship/training experience offer that is directly related to your field of study and integral to your curriculum. This experience must either be required for your degree or a necessary component of the field of study or concentration that you have chosen within your major.
- You are registered for a course that requires the practical training experience. This course must be listed in the course catalog, specifically designed for a practical training experience, and be a minimum of one credit.
- The training experience will be evaluated by a faculty member at UB, will be graded and will appear on your transcript.
- Students approved for an Academic Reduced Course Load are not eligible for CPT during the same semester in which they are authorized to reduce their course load.
Note: CPT will not be authorized in situations where Optional Practical Training is more appropriate or for work to be done after completion of your degree requirements.
* An exception to this requirement is given to graduate students whose academic program requires immediate participation in an internship or field placement.
Authorization Dates & Application Deadlines
CPT authorization is semester specific. There are four semesters during which one may apply for CPT: Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer.
- CPT experiences must be directly linked to a specific course; therefore, CPT cannot extend beyond the last day of exams for the semester in which the authorization is granted.
- CPT may begin before the semester starts; however, it cannot overlap with the previous semester. Refer to the chart below (under CPT Application Deadlines) when choosing your start and end dates.
- If granted CPT and additional time is needed, then a new CPT application, including course enrollment for the next semester is required.
- For summer CPT, it is important to consider the end date of the summer course used to qualify for CPT. If CPT authorization is needed for the entire summer term, then it is necessary to enroll in a 12-week course.
- If CPT authorization was granted in your final semester and you were also approved for a Final Semester Reduced Course Load in that semester, then your CPT cannot be extended into a future semester.
- ISS will not approve an I-20 Extension if the only reason for the extension is a non-required CPT.
- If you are authorized for 12 or more months of full-time CPT, you will lose your eligibility for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training.
When considering CPT, it is important to plan ahead. Be aware of ISS application deadlines (see CPT Application Deadlines section below). Applications will not be accepted after the application deadline.
CPT Application Deadlines
|Semester ||Application Deadline ||Earliest Start Date ||Latest End Date |
|Spring 2019 ||Friday, February 22 ||Thursday, January 24 ||Saturday, May 18 |
|Summer 2019 ||Application Deadline is Add/Drop for Summer Session. Refer to Academic Calendar for specific date. ||Sunday, May 19 ||Friday, August 16 (12 week session); Refer to Academic Calendar for 6 week end dates |
|Fall 2019 ||Friday, September 13 ||Saturday, August 17 ||Monday, December 16 |
|Winter 2020 ||Application Deadline is Add/Drop for Winter Term. Refer to Academic Calendar for specific date. ||Tuesday, December 17 ||Friday, January 24 |
|Spring 2020 ||Friday, February 14 ||Saturday, January 25 ||Saturday, May 16 |
|Summer 2020 ||Application Deadline is Add/Drop for Summer Session. Refer to Academic Calendar for specific date. ||Sunday, May 17 ||Friday, August 14 (12 Week Session); Refer to Academic Calendar for 6 week end dates |
|Fall 2020 ||Friday, September 18 ||Saturday, August 15 ||Monday, December 21 |
|Winter 2021 ||Application Deadline is Add/Drop for Winter Term. Refer to Academic Calendar for specific date. ||Tuesday, December 22 ||Friday, January 22 |
|Spring 2021 ||Friday, February 12 ||Saturday, January 23 ||Saturday, May 15 |
*The University at Buffalo academic calendar is set by the Faculty Senate and University President, and dates may change at their discretion.
CPT Enrollment Requirements
To qualify for CPT, one must be enrolled for the appropriate course. The course must be listed in the course catalog, specifically designed for a practical training experience, and be a minimum of one credit. Enrollment is required during each semester a CPT is requested (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer).
- If applying for Fall or Spring CPT, you must be enrolled full-time or approved for Full-Time Certification (FTC) from the Graduate School (graduate students only) or have an approved Final Semester Reduced Course Load (RCL) before ISS can approve a CPT request.
- If applying for Summer or Winter CPT and it is your final semester, you must be enrolled full-time or have an approved Final Semester Reduced Course Load (RCL) before ISS can approve a CPT request. If Summer or Winter are not your final semester, then full-time enrollment is not required.
If your department does not offer an internship, practicum or Co-Op, or no course meeting these requirements is available to you, then you may not be able to pursue this type of employment. Because CPT is directly linked to the curriculum of your department, not every F-1 student at UB will have the opportunity to utilize CPT.
Full-Time CPT (more than 20 hours of work per week) is not possible during a student's final semester of the program.* Most CPT authorizations are limited to 20 hours of training per week (part-time). Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) is possible only if the following criteria are met.
- CPT is requested for the summer or winter term.
- The full-time internship is deemed equivalent to full-time enrollment. This must be stated in the course catalog.
- CPT is requested for the summer or winter term.
- The degree program requires an internship involving more than 20 hours of work per week (e.g. Counseling Psychology, Audiology, Communicative Disorders, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy).
- You are enrolled full-time or have Full-Time Certification AND your faculty advisor confirms on the Academic Advisor Recommendation Form that the internship is equivalent to full-time enrollment.
Note: If you are authorized for full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week), you may not also work on campus.
*Full-time CPT in the final term may be possible if your academic program requires all students to complete a full-time off-campus internship during the final semester of the program. Consult with ISS if you believe that this applies to you.
Full-Time CPT (more than 20 hours of work per week) is not possible during a student's final semester of the program unless it is required of all students in the program.
How to Apply
To apply for CPT, follow the directions below. We recommend submitting your application at least 7 business days before your expected employment start date. CPT applications received after the published application deadline will be denied.
- Log in to myISSS by clicking the blue “LOGIN” button. Enter your UBIT Name and Password. Do NOT click on “Administrative Services for University Departments”.
- Click on “F-1 Practical Training Applications” and then “Application for Curricular Practical Training”.
- Complete the E-form and upload the required documentation. Only documents saved as a PDF or JPEG are acceptable.
- Academic Advisor’s Recommendation Form. The entire form must be complete. If any information is missing or if the answers are not sufficient, ISS will request additional information.
- Employer Letter. The letter must be on letterhead, include a signature, a date, the student's name and a position description/job duties.
- CPT Course Enrollment. Be sure that you are registered for the appropriate CPT credit and you include proof of such enrollment BEFORE you submit your CPT E-form.
- **You must be enrolled full-time, approved for Full-Time Certification or have an approved Final Semester Reduced Course Load for the semester in which you are requesting CPT authorization before ISS can authorize CPT. Your E-Form will be denied if your enrollment does not meet these requirements.
- Click “Submit”. ISS will review your application and notify you if any additional information is needed. Processing times is approximately 5-7 business days. If CPT is approved, ISS will update your information in SEVIS and issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization.
The internship/training experience cannot begin until the CPT I-20 is issued and the start date has passed. Retroactive authorizations will not be granted. Any work that takes place outside the CPT approval dates is unauthorized employment.
- It is not possible to switch employers after CPT is approved unless the reason for the change is due to a situation outside the student’s control.
- When authorized for CPT, you are permitted to work only from the specified beginning date through the specified ending date.
- Once you apply for Post-Completion OPT, you are no longer eligible for CPT. Remember, CPT must be an “integral part of an established curriculum”. You are not eligible for CPT if you have completed all degree requirements.