Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

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Overview

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.

Eligibility Requirements

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 changed degree levels at UB, transferred from another U.S. school, or are continuing studies after OPT may be eligible for CPT after one semester at UB.
  • You have an internship/training experience offer that is directly related to your field of study and integral to your curriculum.
  • 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. 

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 off-campus 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
  • 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 start and end date of the summer course used to qualify for CPT.
  • 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 in a course that is 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 enrollment windows are open for future semester(s) in which you plan to enroll, you must be enrolled full-time (or equivalent) at the time of submitting your CPT request. This includes having submitted your Reduced Course Load request or having your FTC or Assistantship show up in your HUB Student Center. Please ensure that you have completed all required paperwork with your department.

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 Authorization

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.

Undergraduate students

  • CPT is requested for the summer or winter term.

                OR

  • The full-time internship is deemed equivalent to full-time enrollment. This must be stated in the course catalog. 
              OR
  • A full-time off-campus internship experience is required for all students in your degree program.

Graduate students

  •  CPT is requested for the summer or winter term (if it is not your final semester).

            OR

  • 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).

            OR

  • 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 (and it is not your final semester).   

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.

Application Process

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.

  1. 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”.
  2. Click on “F-1 Practical Training Applications” and then “Application for Curricular Practical Training”.
  3. 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 date, the student's name and a position title.
    • 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.
  4. Click “Submit”.  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. 

Important Reminders

  • If you are authorized for CPT during the Fall/Spring semester, you may not exceed 20 hours per week between both CPT and any on-campus 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.