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Curricular Practical Training


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 students when the training experience is considered to be an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study.

“Training” is used here to refer to paid or unpaid internships or employment. According to Immigration regulations, CPT may be an internship, practicum, or other work experience that is required for the degree program (as defined in the course catalog) or for which academic course credit is awarded.

Undergraduate students may be eligible for a Summer Internship Subsidy.  For more information, please visit the Center for Student Professional Development or your college/school Dean’s office. Details can be found at: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/summer-internship-subsidy/.

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CPT, YOU MUST

  • Have maintained legal F-1 status for at least one full academic year (fall and spring) or as a full-time student at a service-approved school in another nonimmigrant status that does not prohibit full-time study.
    Exception: if the graduate program requires training before completion of one academic year, consult an ISSS Adviser.
  • Be enrolled in a CPT eligible course or have a need to fulfill a degree requirement that calls for a practical experience
    • In some cases an Educational Agreement outlining the academic basis of the practical experience will be required.
  • Have a training offer or requirement that is directly related to your major area of study
  • Attend a CPT workshop at ISSS

CPT is contingent upon having an offer or practical placement assignment.

Graduate students engaging in research as part of the thesis or dissertation must demonstrate that the CPT request is integral to the completion of the thesis or dissertation.

Application Process

Submitting an application for CPT does not guarantee approval. ISSS will review the CPT application materials for eligibility. If the practical training opportunity qualifies for CPT, ISSS will issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization. The authorization will be reflected on the second page of the I-20 and will list the authorized start and end dates, in addition to the training site name and address.

Please follow the steps below to submit your request for CPT authorization.

  1. Obtain an offer letter from your practical training site. If your CPT request is based on a practicum or clinical placement, you will need your placement letter or contract.
  2.  Complete the online CPT Application in the ISSS portal.
  • Note: The online application requires an academic recommendation for the practical experience. You will need the name and contact information of the academic advisor or supervising faculty that is recommending the CPT in order to submit the application. The academic recommendation must be completed electronically by the academic advisor or supervising faculty before your application can be considered complete.
  1. Submit the CPT application at least two weeks prior to your CPT start date. This allows time to resolve any issues that may come up in the review of the application materials.
  2. Allow five business days from the submission of your complete application (all issues resolved) for processing of your CPT authorization. You will receive a new I-20 with the CPT authorization reflected on the second page when your application has been processed.
  3.  Do not begin working until you receive the new I-20 with CPT authorization from ISSS.

CPT does not require USCIS approval. This type of off-campus work permission is authorized by ISSS and reflected in your SEVIS record. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from Immigration is not required.

HOURS & LIMITATIONS

  • Part-time CPT is authorized for up to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time CPT is required for practical experiences that will exceed 20 hours per week or more (anything beyond 20 hours per week is permissible)

CPT is authorized to correspond with Vanderbilt University’s academic calendar and will be issued one semester at a time. The maximum possible authorization dates will be determined by the dates of the semester in which you are requesting CPT. Exceptions can be approved when there is an academic basis for participating in the practical experience outside of that date range.

Full-time CPT is available without additional academic justification in the summer semester. Requests for full-time CPT during the fall and spring semesters must be supported by an academic requirement or need for full-time participation.

CPT is a pre-completion benefit which means that it is available to students without limit as long as the practical experience is academically necessary or justified. Students who are granted 12 months or more of full-time CPT will no longer be eligible for their Optional Practical Training benefit.

CPT Changes and Extensions

CPT is approved for a specific employer, place of employment, and time period. You may not change employers or extend training without prior consultation and approval from ISSS. You must request all changes to your CPT program at least two weeks in advance.

You must complete new CPT application forms in order to obtain a new CPT authorization. You are not permitted to work beyond your previously-approved CPT dates until you receive a new I-20 authorizing new or extended CPT dates.