Curricular Practical Training—CPT

Curricular Practical Training—CPT FAQs


What is CPT?

CPT stands for curricular practical training and it is a type of work authorization which enables students to engage in off-campus employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. At Michigan Tech, the only type of employment that fits with this description is a Coop.  Students may seek CPT work authorization to engage in a coop during the academic year and/or in the summer.  The experience must be undertaken and completed prior to the completion of a course of study to be considered an integral part of an established curriculum.


I found a very good internship opportunity. What do I do?

All off-campus employment must be approved by IPS.  CPT does not require approval from USCIS.  However, the employment must be overseen by the Career Services Office and approved by your academic adviser before IPS can review it and grant you CPT work authorization.   Once it has been approved, you will receive a new SEVIS I-20 granting you permission to engage in off campus work.  You will only be permitted to work for the employer and dates listed on the SEVIS I-20.  NOTE:  The Career Services Office will expect you to enroll in a coop program.


Does the employment have to be required or just recommended in order to qualify for CPT?

USCIS interprets CPT in two ways. CPT may be required or recommended. This is decided by the stated requirements of an academic degree. All employment that is required must be listed in the University catalog within the description of the department's requirements for all students.  Employment that is recommended must be considered an integral and critical part of student’s academic program by his/her academic adviser.  In either instance, the employment must be administered by the Career Services Office, which requires enrollment in a coop program.


I just started my studies at MTU. Am I eligible to do curricular practical training right away?

You need to be in F-1 status and enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year (two semesters) before becoming eligible for curricular practical training. Graduate students are eligible to seek employment authorization in their first semester if immediate participation in off campus employment is required for the academic program.


Can I do full-time CPT and still be eligible for OPT?

Students who complete 12 or more months of full-time curricular practical training (CPT) will be ineligible for OPT. To continue to be eligible for OPT you will want to make sure to do 364 days or less of full-time CPT.


How much does it cost to apply for CPT?

There is no application fee.  However, students should expect to remain enrolled as a full time student while on CPT. 


What paperwork do I need to apply for the CPT?

You need to seek approval from the Career Services Office for a coop plus secure a recommendation from your academic adviser to accept off campus employment.


What if I get a new job in my area of studies? Do I need to apply again?

Yes. A new application will be required if there is a change of employers or if the employment is to be continued beyond the current ending date. An updated offer letter and an updated Academic Advisor's form are required.