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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a CPT program that is an ‘integral part of an established curriculum.’ CPT is a type of off-campus work permission for F-1 students currently pursuing study programs in the United States and wanting to gain experience in their fields of study.

For further information on CPT, visit the help hub from the Department of Homeland Security.

Specific training that is required of all students is generally viewed as an acceptable basis for approving CPT. The phrase “integral part of an established curriculum” is subject to a great deal of interpretation. An internship may qualify as curricular practical training because it may be required for a particular course or track, within a larger educational objective, even though it is not required for all students in the program. Also employment offered under cooperative agreements between an employer and the university through a university cooperative education office, which is an integral part of the curriculum but not required either for a particular course or of all students constitutes bona fide curricular practical training.

CPT is designed to facilitate employment that deemed an integral part of the program of study. The completion of the degree cannot be extended or delayed to accommodate curricular practical training.

Types of CPT

Internship (employment) which is a required part of a student's major field of study

Students must have maintained F-1 status that has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine consecutive months. (Two semesters for semester program.)

If an internship is a requirement for graduation, CPT need not be credit bearing. Needs to be mentioned in the University catalog.

Training offer form to be filled in by the employer is required as CPT is employer specific. CPT requires a written job offer indicating job title, dates of employment, number of hours, and location of employment before getting the I-20 from the Student Immigration Services.

Student needs to turn in the forms from Course supervisor and Employer to the DSO along with Biola application form for Off-campus employment.

DSO needs to authorize the student in I-20 before the start of the CPT employment.

Full time (more than 20 hours a week) will only be approved in limited circumstances such as, students in programs that require full-time internships. If full-time (more than 20 hours per week) for 12 months or more, the student becomes ineligible for optional practical training.

Students must have a Social Security Number to begin employment.

Internship (employment) which is NOT a required part of a student's major field of study

Students must have maintained the F-1 status for at least nine full months, two semesters in a semester system or three trimesters in a trimester system.

Students should enroll in internship or practicum credits for the program within the major field of study.

CPT is employer-specific. Students must obtain a job offer letter with all the relevant particulars from their specific employer.

An internal recommendation form needs to be turned in to SIS by the department chair or supervising professor. The department will ensure that the position meets the major-related CPT requirement and then approve the position. Thus, if an internship is not a requirement for graduation, we may require registration in a specific internship within the major curriculum. Work must be required by a credit-bearing course within the student’s major program.

Students must meet the DSO with all the above forms to get the I-20 for CPT endorsement before starting the job.

To obtain the final 1-20 recommendation for CPT, the following documents must be given to DSO:

  • Biola Application for Off-Campus Employment from SIS
  • Course Supervisor Form to be filled in by the professor explaining how the training is related to the student’s major field of study
  • Training Information Form filled in by the employer
  • Make sure you have a Social Security Number before starting work