Curricular Practical Training—CPT FAQs


What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) lets students work off-campus if the job is an integral part of their established curriculum. At Michigan Tech, the kinds of work that fit this description are: co-ops, the abbreviation for "cooperative education"; and internships that are credit-bearing through your academic department. Students work at a company or institution in an industry that applies to their studies. Students can apply for CPT during the academic year and/or the summer. The CPT must take place prior to the completion of your course requirements.


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

All off-campus employment must be approved by International Programs and Services. But first, get approval from Michigan Tech's Career Services Office and your academic adviser. Then IPS will review the situation and grant you CPT work authorization. Once it has been approved, you will receive a new SEVIS I-20 granting you permission to work off campus for the employer listed and the dates listed. If we issue you a new SEVIS I-20, Career Services and IPS expect you to enroll in a credit-bearing course.


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

US Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS interprets CPT as either required or recommended.

  • Required employment is listed in the University catalog within the description of the department's requirements for all students.
  • Recommended employment is generated by your academic advisor, who must decide if it is an integral and critical part of your academic program.


I just started my studies at Michigan Tech. Can I do curricular practical training right away?

You must have F-1 status and be enrolled full-time at least one full academic year—two semesters—before you are eligible for CPT. The only exception is graduate students. They are eligible in their first semester if immediate participation in off-campus employment is required for their academic programs.


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) are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). So, if you want to continue to be eligible for OPT, you must work 364 days or less of full-time CPT. Part-time CPT is unlimited and does not count toward the 364 days.


How much does it cost to apply for CPT?

There is no application fee. But students must be prepared and plan to pay for the co-op or course credits associated with your CPT work authorization.


What do I need to do first to apply for CPT?

First, get approval from Career Services for a co-op job or internship credits from your academic department. Second, obtain a recommendation from your academic advisor.


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

Yes. A new application is required, with an updated offer letter and an updated Academic Advisor's form, if you change employers or the job you have continues beyond the end date on your SEVIS I-20.