Curricular Practical Training


For the lastest information about how COVID-19 might impact your employment opportunity, please read our ISS COVID-19 FAQ found at http://iss.tamu.edu/current-students/iss-covid-19-updates.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off campus work authorization for employment (whether it is paid or unpaid), such as internship or co-op, for F-1 international students to receive further training. It is designed to achieve an established academic objective and is directly related to your degree level and major.

Before submitting any CPT request to ISS, students MUST have the internship course they will register for shown on the degree plan as REQUIRED. If you do not have the internship course listed as REQUIRED, you will need to work with your department to submit an update to your degree plan. This can take quite some time, so plan ahead! 

CPT is defined to be an 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 training must be an integral part of an establish curriculum. (8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i))

CPT is training that is designed to achieve an established academic objective, must be an academic requirement for a student’s program, and be directly related to the student’s major field of study.  It is extremely important that students coordinate with their academic advisor early to determine if an internship or practicum will be part of the established curriculum and on the degree plan/degree evaluation.
F-1 students in good academic standing with Texas A&M University, in good legal status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis, in the same SEVIS ID, for at least one full academic year (fall and spring semester) at a SEVIS approved school.

An exception may be made for graduate students who are required to participate in CPT during their first year of study. This means all participants in an academic program must do an internship within the initial year of study.
Before submitting any CPT request to ISS, students MUST have the internship course they will register for shown on the degree plan as REQUIRED. If you do not have the internship course listed as REQUIRED, you will need to work with your department to submit an update to your degree plan. This can take quite some time, so plan ahead! 
 
  1. Speak with your academic department to see if the employment/internship would be an integral part of your academic program.  It is strongly recommended that the student meet with the academic advisor early in the student's academic program to determine if an internship or practicum will be part of the degree plan/ degree evaluation.
  2. Attend an in-person CPT Workshop, participate in an online CPT Webinar, or listen to an ISS CPT Webinar recording to learn more about CPT and the application process.
  3. Receive an offer for CPT employment
  4. Confirm that your internship course is required on your degree plan
    • If it is not, work with your department to update your degree plan
  5. Submit the following documents
  • While on CPT, students must keep Texas A&M up-to-date with changes to their name, address, and employment
  • The CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum. Specifically:
    • The CPT can be required for all degree candidates, as reflected in the course catalogue; or
    • The CPT can be part of an internship course for academic credit towards the degree, as reflected in the student’s degree plan; or
    • The CPT can be required to complete thesis/dissertation research, as reflected in the student’s degree plan
  • The student must be enrolled in the courses used for the CPT prior to the CPT being authorized.
  • There must be a faculty member teaching, supervising, or monitoring the training program
  • The employer, the student, and the student’s academic advisor must agree upon clearly defined course objectives for the program, since the CPT must be done to satisfy degree requirements.
  • The student can only start working once the CPT is authorized on the I-20 and the start date has begun.
  • The student must stop working on or before the end date of the authorized CPT
  • If you plan to do CPT during your graduating semester and/or after the date of your defense, schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor to discuss your eligibility.
  • During a major semester, students working in on-campus positions may be eligible for CPT at the same time if the following conditions are met:
    • The CPT is unpaid
    • The CPT is 20 hours per week or less
    • The on-campus position is 20 hours per week or less
    • Remember, these conditions are related to ISS approval for immigration purposes only. The student is responsible for making sure this is okay with their CPT employer and on-campus employer.
  • If the student wants to change employers, they must stop working and apply for new CPT authorization
  • Sponsored students must contact their sponsor to ensure that the application for CPT does not violate the conditions of their sponsorship. 
ISS strongly recommends that you attend an in-person CPT Workshop, participate in an online CPT Webinar, or listen to a recorded CPT Webinar prior to applying for CPT or requesting a CPT appointment. Visit the ISS CPT Workshops and Webinars page to see if there are any upcoming in-person workshops or online webinars.  From this page you can also access a recording of a recent CPT Webinar.

The Online CPT Workshop is no longer available on eCampus.
 
TAMU requires those on an F-1 or J-1 visa to be covered under the System Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP) or have equivalent insurance coverage. If you enroll in employer provide coverage while on CPT you must apply for a waiver of SSHIP through Academic Health Plan’s (AHP) online waiver system by the set deadline.  If you were granted a waiver based on Graduate Student Employee plan and this plan terminates, you are required to apply for a waiver using your current employer provided health insurance.  ISS is notified of those who terminate from GSE plan and you will be charged for SSHIP if you do not have an approved waiver through AHP.  Health Insurance requirements and the waiver process may be found on the ISS website at http://iss.tamu.edu/Health-Insurance
 


Curricular Practical Training Frequently Asked Questsions

You can find our Curricular Practical Training FAQ Webinar Recording at http://tx.ag/CPTFAQWebinarRecording. You can also see our detailed FAQ about CPT below.

How much CPT am I eligible to receive?
The amount of CPT that a student can receive is based upon their academic program. However, it is important to note that if a student engages in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, they are not eligible to apply for OPT.
 
Do I need a job offer to apply for CPT?
Yes. A student is authorized for CPT to be employed by a specific employer, at a specific location and for specific dates as approved by ISS. You will need to submit a copy of your employment offer letter and your employer will need to complete the CPT Employer Form when you apply for CPT authorization from ISS.
 
Can I apply for CPT to do a co-op?
Yes. CPT is designed to allow students to participate in internship opportunities and cooperative education (“co-op”) opportunities.
 
What is the authorization window during which my CPT can occur?
The earliest ISS can authorize CPT for a given term is the day following the 1st commencement date for the previous term. For example: A Summer internship can begin as early as the day after the 1st Spring term commencement date. The latest ISS can authorize CPT for a given term is dependent on the student’s academic circumstances:
 
ISS can authorize CPT through the day prior to the 1st class day of the academic term that follows the CPT term if the student meets all the the following criteria:
  • The student is not graduating during the CPT term; and
  • The student plans to enroll for the major academic term that follows the CPT term; and
  • The student is not earning 691 research credits for the CPT and defending their thesis or dissertation during the CPT term
 
ISS can only authorize CPT through the last day of final examinations for the CPT term if the student meets either of the following criteria:
  • The student is graduating during the CPT term; or
  • The student is earning 691 research credits for the CPT and defending their thesis or dissertation during the CPT term
 
Is there a minimum amount of time that I must work in order to earn credit for CPT?
Your academic department should determine how many hours of CPT employment are needed to earn the credit(s).
 
My internship dates cover more than one semester. Do I need to apply for 2 separate CPTs?
It depends. If you are requesting to do CPT during the Summer and Fall terms, you can apply for both terms at the same time because you can enroll in coursework for both terms at the same time. That is, you can submit 1 CPT application that indicates the CPT course you plan to take for each CPT term. If you are requesting to do CPT during the Fall and Spring terms or the Spring and Summer terms, then you will end up having to do 2 CPT applications. This is because these terms have separate registration periods. The first term can be approved with the 1st CPT application and then you will have to apply for a CPT Extension once the registration period for the second term opens in order to receive authorization for the second term.
 
Who can sign the CPT Department form?
ISS will accept signatures from the academic advisor, graduate advisor, department head, program director, or a designee of any of these individuals.
 
My Job offer letter does not explicitly mention the job responsibilities. However, my position description does. Can I attach my position description that I applied to as a supporting document?
Yes.
 
Do I need CPT authorization if my employment will be on campus?
Maybe.
 
You DO need CPT authorization to work on-campus if the following is true:
  • The employment will take place during the fall or spring terms and you will be working more than 20 hours per week.
  • The unpaid CPT opportunity will take place during the fall or spring terms and you plan to continue working in your paid on-campus employment position and your total hours of CPT plus on-campus employment will exceed 20 hours per week.
 
You DO NOT need CPT authorization to work on-campus if the following is true:
  • The employment will take place during the summer term.
  • The employment will take place during the fall or spring terms and you will be working 20 hours per week or less and you have no other on-campus employment.
  • The unpaid CPT opportunity will take place during the fall or spring terms and you plan to continue working in your paid on-campus employment position and your total hours of CPT plus on-campus employment will be 20 hours per week or less.
 
When I apply for CPT, how should I indicate that I will be working remotely?
On the CPT Student Form and CPT Employer Form, you are asked to provide the “Physical Address of Student’s Employment Location” and this address should reflect where you will physically conduct the CPT work. If you will be working from home, then this address should be your home address. It is strongly recommended that you obtain something in writing from your employer to confirm your plan to work remotely, and this confirmation should be included with your CPT application to ISS. This clarification could be included in your offer letter, on your CPT Employer Form, provided as a separate document from your employer, or even sent to you via email from your employer. Without this clarification, the ISS advisor may need to reach out to you to obtain this clarification, which delay your CPT processing.
 
Can I apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) when I apply for CPT? 
Yes, you should indicate on the CPT Student Form that you need an SSN. If ISS is able to approve your CPT, an SSN endorsement letter will be issued for you along with the updated CPT I-20. You will use the CPT SSN endorsement letter to apply for the SSN.
 
Can I apply for CPT if my visa is expiring soon or has already expired?
Yes. A valid visa is not required to apply for CPT. However, if you are planning to travel outside the United States you will have to renew your visa, if expired, before attempting to re-enter the United States. 
 
If I am authorized for CPT during my graduating semester, may I apply for Post-Completion OPT while still authorized for CPT?
Yes. You may apply for OPT based on Graduation. You will be ineligible to apply for OPT based on Completion of Coursework. Your CPT must end on or prior to the last day of final exams for the academic term. Your requested OPT start date must be within the 60-day grace period following the 1st commencement date of the academic term.
When can I start working on my CPT?
A student can start working with their CPT employer once they have received the I-20 reflecting the CPT work authorization and the start date has begun. The CPT work authorization will be indicated on the 2nd page.
 
When must I stop working on my CPT?
The end date of your CPT will be reflected on the 2nd page of your I-20. You should stop working on or before this date. If you stop working before this date, please take the following actions:
  1. Complete the CPT Termination Notification program in Terra Dotta at http://tamu-iss.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Students.Apply&Program_ID=10131.
  2. Contact your academic department to notify them about this change to your CPT employment.
What if my anticipated CPT employment location changes while my CPT application is still pending with ISS?
Please submit an updated CPT Student Form as well as documentation from your employer to confirm the new employment location to iss@tamu.edu with your full name and UIN.  Indicate in the email that you are requesting a change to your pending CPT application.  ISS can accept clarification from your employer through a new offer letter, a new CPT Employer Form, a separate document composed by your employer, or even an email from your employer.
 
What if my CPT employment location changes after my CPT has been approved with ISS?
If you have been authorized to work at your employer’s address and now you will be working remotely, please submit the “Report Change to CPT Employment” program in Terra Dotta at http://tamu-iss.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Students.Apply&Program_ID=10128. If you have been authorized to work remotely and now you want to begin working at your employer’s address, you will need to submit an updated CPT Student Form as well as documentation from your employer to confirm the new employment location to iss@tamu.edu with your full name and UIN.  Indicate in the email that you are requesting a change to your approved CPT.  ISS can accept clarification from your employer through a new offer letter, a new CPT Employer Form, a separate document composed by your employer, or even an email from your employer.
 
How do I apply for a CPT Extension?
You must submit a new CPT application to iss@tamu.edu that includes all required documents described on this webpage.
 
What should I do if my employer wants me to continue working on CPT beyond my authorized CPT end date?
You should apply for a CPT Extension, which requires you to submit a completely new CPT application to ISS including all required documents described on this webpage. Do not work beyond the originally authorized CPT end date until you have received the extended authorization.
 
Will the time spent working on CPT affect the time that I receive for OPT?
If a student engages in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, they are not eligible to apply for OPT. This is the only way that CPT employment impacts eligibility for OPT employment. Periods of part-time CPT do not impact OPT eligibility. Full-time CPT for less than 12 months does not impact OPT eligibility.
 
Can I change employers while working on CPT?
Yes, but you will need to apply and be approved. To do so, the student will need to take the following actions:
  1. Complete the CPT Termination Notification program in Terra Dotta at http://tamu-iss.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Students.Apply&Program_ID=10131.
  2. Contact their academic department to notify them about this change to their CPT employment.
  3. Submit a new CPT application.
  4. Obtain ISS authorization for the new CPT employer before beginning to work for the new employer.
What should I do if my authorized CPT ends early?
If your CPT ends prior to the authorized end date, please take the following actions.  If possible, try to submit this program before your last day of CPT employment or as soon as possible after your last day of CPT employment.
  1. Complete the CPT Termination Notification program in Terra Dotta at http://tamu-iss.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Students.Apply&Program_ID=10131.
  2. Contact your academic department to notify them about this change to your CPT employment.
What should I do if was approved for CPT but I do not end up working for that employer?
If your CPT ends before it even begins, and you do not work any hours with your approved CPT employer, please take the following actions. If possible, try to submit this program before your authorized 1st date of CPT employment or as soon as possible after your authorized 1st date of CPT employment.
  1. Complete the CPT Termination Notification program in Terra Dotta at http://tamu-iss.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Students.Apply&Program_ID=10131.
  2. Contact your academic department to notify them about this change to your CPT employment.
 
What if I need to cancel my CPT request while my application is pending with ISS?
If your offer for CPT employment is rescinded or you have chosen not to work for your CPT employer, you will need to cancel the CPT application that is pending with ISS. To do so, please send an email to iss@tamu.edu with your full name and UIN and indicate that you are requesting to cancel your pending CPT application.  If you have documentation from your employer that explains why you need to cancel your pending CPT application, please include that in the email.