Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a structured educational program which combines classroom learning with productive work experience in a field related to a student’s academic program. CPT may be available to certain F-1 students.

Please note: CPT is a possible benefit of F-1 status, not an entitlement. The primary purpose of F-1 status is study, not employment. The ISSO will make determinations of CPT eligibility and has the discretion to authorize CPT where the proposed training satisfies federal regulations and the UTD CPT program.

CPT Eligibility

Basic eligibility for CPT has the following requirements:

  • Lawfully enrolled full-time in a U.S. university for at least one academic year (two consecutive long semesters) immediately prior to the semester in which the CPT will take place.
  • Valid F-1 status at the time of CPT application.
  • Good academic standing (minimum 3.0 GPA for graduates, 2.0 GPA for undergraduates).  If good standing is not maintained, CPT authorization will be canceled.
  • Meet all CPT requirements of the UT Dallas Jonsson School Industrial Practice Program (all ECS students) or UT Dallas Career Center (all other students).
  • Have not failed a previous CPT course.
  • No incomplete grades.
  • Must have completed at least one semester at UT Dallas
  • Have not completed your degree requirements.

Unpaid Internships

CPT authorization is required for F-1 students even where the internship is unpaid. Students who engage in unpaid activities that would constitute ‘employment’ under labor laws will be considered to be ‘employed.’ If an unpaid internship is not covered by an authorization such as CPT or OPT, F-1 students are risking their immigration status.

CPT Application Process

  • Contact the appropriate internship office for introductory information and to obtain CPT approval
  • Jonsson School Industrial Practice Program (IPP) for ECS students.
  • Career Center for all other students.
  • Internship office will forward CPT approval to ISSO
  • Processing time is one business day for all approvals received before 4:00 pm and two business days for all approvals received after 4:00 pm
  • The ISSO will send you an email when your CPT I-20 is ready for pickup
  • Pick up the CPT I-20. The authorization information is on page three of the I-20.Verify all information is correct
  • Provide ISSO with a copy of your signed CPT I-20 for our records

CPT and Enrollment

  • CPT courses are considered to be ‘face-to-face’
  • Part-time CPT (20 hours or less per week) requires full-time enrollment at school during any long semester or first semester in a new program
  • Full-time CPT (More than 20 hours per week) that lasts at least 11 weeks is considered full-time enrollment for immigration purposes for one long semester per year. In the next long semester you will be required to carry a standard course-load unless approved for reduced enrollment by the ISSO based on another reason, such as a documented medical illness. Note: Check with your academic program to learn if there are additional enrollment limits.

CPT Employment

  • Must be directly related to major and degree
  • Authorization is only valid once it is indicated on your I-20
  • Continued employment is not permitted after completion of degree requirements (regardless of graduation date). The program completion date  is the last day of the finals period for the graduating semester, unless completing studies based on defense of dissertation or thesis.

CPT Authorization Dates

Summer 2014

Fall 2014

Earliest CPT start date

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Latest CPT end date

(except for those graduating in that semester)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday, January 09, 2015

Graduates: latest end date

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

CPT Limitations

If you have more than 364 days of full-time CPT, you lose eligibility for OPT. Use our calculator [link] to find the total number of full-time CPT days you have accrued.

Additional Resources While Working in the U.S.




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