Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a pre-completion, off-campus employment authorization available to students in good F-1 status. CPT is defined by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as employment which is to be 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. This work experience must be an “integral part of an established curriculum” and you must receive credit for the CPT.
CPT should be approached from a curricular perspective and only secondarily from the employment perspective. That is to say that the focus should be on the academic outcome from the experience rather than a student’s desire for employment.
CPT may be full-time (20 hours or more per week) or part-time (20 hours or less per week).
Additional information and links to required forms are below. You are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself with CPT requirements and restrictions before you start looking for a CPT opportunity.
The following requirements must be met to be eligible to request CPT:
Students meeting criteria below are not eligible for CPT:
Regulations require the training to be “an integral part of an established curriculum” and that the student maintain full-time enrollment while on CPT.
"In practical terms, 'integral part of an established curriculum' means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must receive credit for the training."
"F-1 students are required to maintain status (status includes enrolling in a full course of study) while completing CPT.”
All students authorized for CPT must enroll in an academic course for at least one credit hour related to the student’s CPT. The student must be enrolled in and complete the course during the academic term during which the CPT will occur (fall, spring, summer).
Each student should discuss with their academic or program advisor the course(s) most appropriate for the student’s situation, the academic outcomes required for successful completion of the coursework, and credit hours to be earned.
The course must include oversight of the student throughout the semester. This includes regular contact throughout the semester.
Courses that do not require an internship or co-op to complete the course or to receive course credit will not be eligible for CPT. Each course must be for a minimum of one credit hour.
To maintain status, you are required to make normal progress toward completing your course of studies. This applies even during CPT.
Students are required to maintain full course enrollment during fall and spring semesters. In most cases, summer is not a required enrollment period, so students would not be required to maintain full-time enrollment. Students who have been enrolled in their current degree program for less than one full academic year or who have attended Missouri S&T for less than one full academic year should meet with their international student advisor to discuss whether full-time enrollment is required during the summer semester.
No more than the equivalent of one on-line/distance education class or three credits of on-line/distance coursework per semester may count toward the full course of study requirement.
Applications for CPT during the summer and fall semesters are accepted by International Enrollment beginning on the last day to drop a course for the spring semester. Applications for CPT for the spring semester are accepted by International Enrollment beginning the last day to drop a course for the fall semester.
CPT authorization is granted for one academic term at a time (fall, spring, summer), regardless of whether the CPT is part-time or full-time. The dates between semesters may be combined with fall, spring, or summer terms. Requests to include the dates between semesters may be submitted along with the student’s initial request or submitted as a separate request.
Students should begin the CPT request process a minimum of 30 days prior to the requested CPT start date. Each student is responsible for securing signatures from the academic department and Graduate Studies (graduate students only).
Only one type of CPT and one academic term may be requested on each request.
You should review the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Guidance, CPT Request Form, and this document before you start looking for a qualifying curricular practical training opportunity.
Interested in finding a curricular practical training opportunity? The Career Opportunities and Employer Relations (COER) team is here to help you!
Congratulations on getting an offer for curricular practical training from an employer! Your next step is to get an offer letter that meets the requirements below.
The offer letter must be on company letterhead and include the following:
The form includes a section to be completed by the student. It is important that you include detailed information on the form that explains how the curricular practical training experience is integral to your degree and how the course you are taking will show an academic outcome that can only be achieved through CPT. Gaining working experience alone is not sufficient reason to support a CPT request.
Your academic department may require you to obtain additional signatures on the CPT Request Form, such as from the Graduate Coordinator for your program. If you are currently employed by your department as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) or Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), please discuss with your academic advisor how your GA position will be affected by your CPT employment. There are specific enrollment requirements and weekly hours worked obligations for students with a GA position that may make it difficult to also accept CPT employment. We recommend that you find out in advance what your department’s rule is regarding internship/Co-Op while holding a GA position before proceeding with the CPT Request Form. You may also be asked by your Graduate Studies Advisor to update your Form 1a or 5a before they will sign your CPT Request Form. Please allow extra time for these types of delays when estimating how quickly your CPT Request Form will be processed and approved.
Once you have completed the student section, share the form and your offer letter with your academic advisor, program advisor, faculty advisor, department chair and course instructor. Please request they complete their section(s) and sign the form. If you are a graduate student, approval is also required from Graduate Studies.
Students wishing to extend CPT past the end date listed on page 2 of the I-20 or wishing to request CPT authorization for a new employer must complete the request process again. Any student who has not received the updated I-20 with approval should stop working on or before the end date listed on page 2 of the I-20. Working past the end date or for an employer other than listed on the I-20 is a violation of F-1 visa status.
Once both the student and academic approval sections are complete, submit the completed form, offer letter, and job description to International Enrollment in 106 Centennial Hall or by email to email@example.com.
Complete the co-op registration process in Handshake.
All students authorized for CPT must enroll in an academic course for at least one credit hour related to the student’s CPT. The student must be enrolled in and complete the course during the academic term during which the CPT will occur (fall, spring, summer). Courses that do not require an internship or co-op to complete the course or to receive course credit do not meet CPT course requirements. You must be registered for the appropriate course before the I-20 with CPT authorization will be created.
Processing by International Enrollment will include the following steps:
Approval for CPT is not complete until you have received an I-20 with the approval listed on page 2.
Once page 2 of your I-20 has been updated to list your CPT approval, the CPT authorization process is complete, and you have received the necessary approval required to begin your training. CPT approval is employer and date specific. You may work only for the employer listed on your I-20 and for the dates of authorization listed on the I-20 and for the hours authorized (part-time or full-time).
Working outside of the dates listed on page 2 of your I-20, for an employer different than listed on page 2 of your I-20, or for different hours (full-time/part-time) than listed on page 2 of your I-20 is a violation of your F visa status.
You must continue to maintain valid F-1 status while on CPT. This includes:
You have sole responsibility to ensure compliance with any limits on CPT and to monitor your eligibility for OPT. Missouri S&T is not responsible for monitoring full-time CPT duration or OPT eligibility. A student exceeding 12 months of full-time CPT per level will do so at their own risk for potential future benefits. Each student is responsible for maintaining valid F visa status.
For any questions related to CPT, contact International Enrollment at 573-341-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the international student advisor directly. A list of international student advisors and assigned student groups is available online at https://international.mst.edu/meettheteam/.
International students may meet with their international advisor during walk-in hours of 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday, in 106 Centennial Hall.