Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is defined as off-campus work experience (training) which is an integral part of an established curriculum.

Employment for the sole purpose of earning extra money or to gain work experience is not an applicable use of CPT.

CPT is not necessary for on campus (UMass Amherst) employment.

Eligibility: You must apply for CPT authorization BEFORE you begin working.

You must have completed two full semesters in F-1 immigration status and be in good academic standing making satisfactory progress towards your degree to be eligible.  In very limited circumstances this can be waived if your degree program requires a training opportunity within your first two semesters (graduate students only).

CPT is usually undertaken during vacation periods at full-time (more than 20 hours/week) or part-time during the academic semester (20 hours or less/week).  If you engage in full-time CPT during a semester, you must maintain your full-time student status/enrollment at UMass by making the necessary arrangements with Career Services (if you are an undergraduate) and your department (all students).

Because CPT must be an integral part of your academic program, you will not be eligible for CPT once you have completed all degree requirements.  Once you have completed studies (i.e. no further required course registration, all academic requirements met), you may not apply for CPT. Note also that CPT cannot be authorized if it will interfere with your academic progress and cause a delay in your completion of studies.   

If you currently have a CPT training position and wish to continue the same position without interruption following completion of studies, you must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at least 3-months before your completion of studies date.  Unlike CPT, OPT takes approximately 3-months for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process an OPT application, so be sure to make OPT plans well in advance and plan ahead accordingly.

Important note: Students who utilize 12-months of full-time CPT will not be eligible for future post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).  In general, short-term training programs such as summer internships are more common than longer term appointments, such as a 12-month position.  Any amount of CPT authorized for less than 12-months at the full-time rate will not impact future OPT eligibility and will not be subtracted from your initial 12-months of OPT eligibility.

Application Procedure

Application for CPT is processed by the International Programs Office (IPO) and does not require a formal application through USCIS.  However, please note, CPT authorization is not automatic and will be denied if the IPO determines that the proposed employment does not meet the specific criteria for CPT outlined above.

CPT can be authorized by the IPO for the following situations only:

1. Training is credit-earning (internship or independent study) or as a Cooperative Education Experience (Co-op approved by Career Services by submitting an online contract with Central Career Services with all of the required forms) Training must be directly related to student’s field of study and integral to their program curriculum.

*After receiving a job offer, student should go to their department academic advisor or program director to seek advice to determine if the job will be considered a “for credit internship/independent study” or a “non-credit cooperative (“Co-op”) education experience”. For undergraduate student’s credited internship process, please check here: and for Co-op process, check here.

Students from College of Engineering, check here.

Students from College of Information & Computer Sciences, check here.

Students from the Isenberg School of Management need to contact Kim Figueroa before continuing with the CPT application.

2. Training is formally required for your degree program completion.  An internship, practicum, etc. that is required for degree program completion.  May be non-credit, but must be a specific, published degree program requirement in the course catalogue.

Before accessing our CPT Eform below, please make sure you have obtained a job offer letter on company letter head (with complete mailing address) which must contain ALL of the following information:

  • Job title

  • A brief description of job duties

  • Number of hours student will work per week

  • An exact employment start and end date

  • Salary and related compensation

To apply for CPT, please follow the procedure here.

Assuming that the training meets the criteria for CPT, the International Programs Office will grant CPT authorization by issuing an updated I-20 form with a specific CPT endorsement for the named employer, for the exact dates indicated on your offer letter. Please note that it will take 2 to 3 business days to process your CPT I-20.