Curricular Practical Training
Practical training refers to employment in a student's field of study. Practical training authorization may be obtained both during studies and after the completion of studies. You must be in full-time F-1 status for one academic year (2 semesters) before becoming eligible.
Attendance at an IPS Employment Workshop is required prior to submitting application.
Curricular Practical Training
The F-1 student regulations define Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as a work experience that is an “integral part of an established curriculum.” In other words, it is work for which one is receiving academic credit.
Applying for CPT
Please refer to the SJSU catalog, or your department’s website, to determine if your program requires an internship. In some cases, a student may enroll in an elective internship or practicum class as a way to obtain Curricular Practical Training. The work must be in your major and your department advisor must approve the job and establish requirements that you will meet to earn credit for what is learned on the job. Speak with your department advisor and attend the mandatory IPS Employment Workshop to determine if you are eligible for CPT.
IPS must authorize CPT employment before you start working off-campus. You will be issued a new I-20 to show your employer as proof of CPT work authorization.
For more information regarding CPT, read the CPT Frequently Asked Questions below:
- Question: Do I have to enroll in an academic course to do Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
Answer: Yes. Students must enroll in at least 9 units as a graduate or 12 units as an undergraduate, including an Internship course in their major each semester that they wish to do CPT. The Winter term can be included in a CPT authorized for the previous Fall semester or the subsequent Spring semester. In summer, CPT may be approved with one internship course in the major. Full-time study is not required in summer. Graduate students who are working on an extension of the final thesis or project and who have no further units to complete for their degree other than the final project do not qualify for CPT.
- Question: My department is not offering a course appropriate for CPT this semester. May I take
one offered by another academic department?
Answer: No. The course must be in the student’s major department.
- Question: I have an offer now, but registration is already closed for this semester. May I begin
work now and get credit for the course next semester?
Answer: No. The dates for the CPT must correspond to the beginning and ending dates of the semester when the credit is earned.
- Question: After I enroll in the course, what are the documents I need to submit to get CPT
authorized on my I-20?
Answer: Students must show proof of course enrollment, a job offer letter from the employer and the CPT Worksheet filled out by their department advisor before a CPT Application will be processed. IPS Processing takes 1 to 3 weeks.
- Question: May I start working as soon as I turn in my CPT application to the IPS Office?
Answer: No. You cannot begin work until IPS gives you your new I-20 with the CPT authorization on it. You may only work during the dates indicated on your I-20. If you do not have a social security number, you may apply for one while your CPT authorization is being processed by IPS. Social Security number processing may take 1-2 weeks.
- Question: What about doing CPT in my minor?
Answer: No. CPT can only be approved in your major department.
- Question: I can’t take any more courses until I pass the WST. May I enroll in an internship
class and do CPT until I pass the WST?
Answer: No. Students who have failed the WST, are on probation, are in their first term back from disqualification, or are otherwise not making normal progress in their studies will not be approved for CPT.
- Question: I was in F-1 status for a year at my old school. This is my first semester at SJSU.
When may I start CPT?
Answer: Student’s transferring from another U.S. institution to continue in the same degree program at the same level must complete one full-time semester at SJSU (9 units/graduate or 12 units/undergraduate) before they are eligible for CPT. Students starting a new Bachelor’s or Master’s program will not be authorized for CPT until they complete two full-time semesters at SJSU (9 units/ graduate, or 12 units/undergraduate), unless the practicum or internship is required of all students during their first or second semester.
- Question: May I take classes part-time and work full-time on CPT?
Answer: No. CPT will not be authorized unless the student is studying full-time (9 units for graduate students; 12 units for undergraduate students). Course credit hours for CPT count toward full-time status. CPT is authorized for part-time work during Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time CPT is only authorized during summer.
- Question: May I continue to do CPT if I’ve finished all coursework, am only enrolled in RP units,
but working on my final project/thesis?
Answer: After you have enrolled in the required number of credits for graduation, no additional CPT will be granted.
- Question: What can I do if I’ve used all my CPT’s and still need to work to complete my project?
Answer: Students who have used all their CPT authorizations may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if they believe even more work will be needed to complete their project. We strongly advise that the OPT application be made 90 days prior to the requested start date to allow for USCIS immigration processing time. Please see an international advisor for further information.
- Question: How many times may I do CPT?
Answer: For students admitted to the College of Engineering and in MBA programs, the CPT maximum is 2 authorizations. For all others, CPT will be granted for a maximum of 3 authorizations.
- Question: Can I apply for CPT with an approved reduced course load (RCL)?
Answer: You may apply for CPT if you have an approved reduced course load your final semester of course work or if you are working on thesis/project. IPS does not approve CPT for students that have petitioned for a reduced course load for academic difficulty. Only students in good academic standing are eligible for CPT. Generally, students on an approved RCL for medical reasons are not granted CPT.
- Question: Is there any grace period for CPT which allows me to work before receiving the authorization
or after the authorization has ended?
Answer: No, you are authorized to work only for the dates which are indicated on the CPT I-20. You are NOT eligible to work on CPT while the application is pending. You are only authorized to work once the I-20 has been issued and the CPT start date on the I-20 has been reached, and you may not work beyond the CPT end date. However, you may apply for another semester of CPT authorization if you are eligible to do so.
- Question: If I am returning to SJSU after having been academically disqualified, when am I eligible
to apply for CPT?
Answer: Students returning to the SJSU after being academically reinstated must complete at least one more semester before being able to apply for CPT.
- Question: When can I apply for CPT after being on probation?
Answer: CPT cannot be approved until the Registrar has updated MySJSU to indicate the academic standing has been changed to “good standing.”
- Question: If I extend my graduation, can I apply for CPT?
Answer: No, once all degree requirements have been reached, no additional CPT will be granted.
- Question: If I have registered for all degree requirements and then decide to change my program
plan so that I still have required courses remaining in my new plan, am I eligible
Answer: No additional CPT will be granted after all degree credits have been taken. This includes students who have decided to change their program plan.
- Question: What proof of employment do I need to show my employer on CPT?
Answer: Page 3 of the new CPT I-20 is your authorization to work