CPT Application Steps

You will need to follow the CPT application steps below precisely. Incorrect information or incomplete submissions will result in a delay of your CPT request. Given the time sensitive nature of CPT requests, the IPO recommends starting the process as soon as possible once enrolled in the appropriate course and you have the required paperwork or at least 2 weeks prior to your preferred CPT start date. Errors in the application process may require the IPO to push back your intended CPT start date.

You can accept your internship offer without CPT approval but you cannot start your internship until the IPO has authorized your CPT.

After receiving a paid training offer, ensure your offer letter meets the following requirements:

Step 1: Offer letter on company letterhead (with complete mailing address) which must contain ALL the following information:

  • Job title
  • A brief description of your job duties
  • Number of hours you will work per week
  • An exact employment start and end date
  • Location where you will be working
  • Your Salary and related compensation

Step 2: If your offer letter meets the requirements above, consult with your academic advisor or your college’s Career Services office to ensure your proposed training is integral to your degree.

Acquire the appropriate paperwork and enroll in the appropriate course or complete co-op paperwork. If your proposed CPT overlaps more than one semester, then you will need to enroll in multiple courses unless part of an approved co-op. (For example, your training occurs in the last 3-weeks of the summer term and all of the fall semester term. You are required to enroll in the appropriate course in the summer term and the fall semester term.)

Step 3: You must meet one of the following requirements for your CPT to be “integral:”Review the Career Development Hub information here: 

Specific Information for some colleges are here:

  1. Training is formally required for your degree program completion.  An internship, practicum, etc. that is required for degree program completion and enrollment in a course. Very few programs require practical training.
  2. Training is part of a Cooperative Education Experience (Co-op must approved by the Career Development Hub by submitting an online contract. The Co-op process is available here.
  3. Training is credit-earning (internship or independent study)​ Your Career Advisor or Academic/Faculty Advisor should determine which course best suits your program’s needs. The IPO does not determine this.

Step 4: Complete the Handshake agreement with the Career Development Hub. Please contact internships[at]umass[dot]edu to begin the process. The IPO does not oversee the Handshake portal and cannot advise on it. All students need to complete this step.

Step 5: Once you have completed Steps 1-4, proceed to the CPT Request E-Form and upload your job offer letter, approved Handshake contract, and a screen shot of your course enrollment (or your co-op*/externship paperwork) for the term(s) you are requesting CPT:

*Co-op students need to submit their departmental permission form and the course registration email you receive from the Career Development Hub.

Step 6: Allow 5 business days for IPO processing—you may not begin your CPT until you have been approved.

Full list of documents required to be uploaded:

  1. Job Offer Letter on company letterhead (with complete mailing address) which must contain ALL of the following information:
    • Salary and related compensation
    • An exact employment start and end date
    • Number of hours student will work per week
    • A brief description of job duties
    • Job title
  2. Proof of Course Enrollment/Departmental Permission Form (for Co-ops) a screen shot of your SPIRE enrollment if in a credited course)
    • You must remain enrolled in this course for the duration of your CPT. Withdrawal may be considered a violation that could jeopardize your immigration status.
    • Graduate Students: 999 Continuous Enrollment cannot be used for CPT purposes. If you are in a 999 course, you must enroll in a credit-bearing course of at least 1 credit before CPT will be issued.
  3. Your approved Handshake contract from the Career Development Hub

If you are missing any of the items above, your CPT request form will be delayed until the IPO has all of the items. You may not begin working until your CPT is approved and your CPT I-20 has been issued. The IPO processes CPT requests in the order received and cannot expedite requests.

Step 7: Assuming that the proposed training meets the criteria for CPT, the IPO will grant CPT authorization by issuing an updated I-20 form with a specific CPT endorsement for the named employer, location, and for the term dates indicated by the University’s Academic Calendar (unless on an approved Co-op contract).

Please note that it will take 5 business days to process your CPT I-20. CPT approval emails occasionally go into your Spam/Junk folder. Please check this folder if 5 business days have passed and you have not received the approval email yet.



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