Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is practical work experience for F-1 students either required of all students in a specific degree program or, alternatively, listed in the course catalogue as offering credit that directly counts towards degree credit requirements. This might, but will not always, include for-credit internships and cooperative education programs. In certain cases, it may also include independent study and/or graduate research.

Academic Units (schools, academic departments or registrars) determine whether to incorporate practical training into the curriculum and stipulate when students may pursue practical training. F-1 students in programs that do not have the option of practical training for credit are not eligible for CPT. Not all programs give credit for practical training or allow for paid practical training.

CPT is available only prior to completion of the academic program. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program. Undergraduate students must have declared their major prior to applying for CPT. CPT is not approved for minors. F-1 students interested in acquiring CPT authorization should first complete the online Off-Campus Workshop (hosted on Canvas) to learn the regulatory requirements and authorization procedure. See the "How to Apply for CPT" section below for instructions on how to access the workshop.

You can ONLY begin working after you get the CPT I-20 from Rutgers Global - ISSS and the authorized employment period has begun. 

For job search tips and resources, please visit University Career Services International Student Resources.

Off-Campus Employment Chat Sessions

ISSS hosts chat sessions on CPT and OPT via Zoom. This is an opportunity for students to drop in and discuss their CPT/OPT questions with an International Student Adviser (ISA), as well as connect with other students who are also interested in off-campus employment. Below are the scheduled chat sessions with direct links to the Zoom room.

 

Additional Information

Eligibility +

F-1 students eligible for CPT are:

  • Offered a paid or unpaid employment opportunity qualified for CPT

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis while physically present in the US for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms) unless your academic program requires immediate participation for all students

  • Be in lawful F-1 status

  • Maintaining legal status

  • Approved to register for corresponding course/credit for the practical training for the semester/summer during which the student is engaged in practical training

CPT During Final Term

During your final term of study, you must be enrolled at Rutgers University and physically present on campus in order to comply with F-1 requirements. If you are enrolled part-time because you do not need a full course load to complete your remaining degree requirements, you must receive Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization from ISSS.

If you are in compliance with these enrollment and physical presence requirements, then you may pursue CPT during your final term of study. Please note that the latest possible end date for CPT authorization during the final term of study is the last day of classes.

Full Time versus Part Time CPT +

Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. You must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time and be physically present on campus in order to maintain lawful F-1 status during fall and spring terms.

Full-time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will eliminate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). During fall and spring terms, you must be enrolled full-time or have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL).

In most cases, students may be authorized—with approval from Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services—for part time CPT (20 hours per week or less) during the fall and spring semesters. F-1 students may be authorized for full time CPT (more than 20 hours per week) during the summer and winter break periods.

You may also be limited to part time CPT in the summer if:

  • Your program has a required summer term OR
  • Summer is your final term

Exceptionally, with approval from Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services, students may be eligible for full time CPT during the fall and spring semesters (or a required summer term, following these conditions:

  • Undergraduate students in the last semester to complete a degree program and authorized for less than a full-time course load  

  • Graduate students who have completed all course work, or are in the last semester to complete course work and are authorized for less than full-time course load 

  • Students whose programs require participation in a full-time CPT during the fall/spring semesters. Students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment and maintain physical presence on campus during the fall and spring terms. These cases are rare and will be evaluated by ISSS to ensure compliance with F-1 regulations.

Please note that students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the same educational level. Part-time CPT generally does not affect eligibility for OPT. If concerned, please contact an ISA. 

While CPT authorizations are approved by ISSS, USCIS will always have the final authority on your overall practical training eligibility, and how prior work authorizations could impact future immigration benefits, such as OPT. When OPT applications are reviewed, USCIS has the authority to evaluate the details of your past employment, such as total hours worked per week (in all roles), dates worked, course relevancy, etc to determine your eligibility. If such questioning arises, you are expected to provide the requested information. 

How to Apply for CPT +

  1. Complete the online Off-Campus Employment Workshop hosted on the RGlobal portal (under Workshops on the left-hand menu)
  2. Consult with your school/program regarding academic eligibility for CPT
  3. Submit your Curricular Practical Training (CPT) request online through the RGlobal portal.
    • Students in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy completing rotations should instead submit the PharmD Rotation: CPT Authorization request
    • A new CPT request is needed for each individual job you will be performing, per semester
  4. You will need to prepare the following for your request:
    • Job offer letter, printed on official business letterhead, showing the following:
  • Job title and brief job description/duties of role
  • Exact start and end date of employment 
  • Number of hours of work per week - writing "full time" or "part time" is NOT sufficient
  • Physical place of employment (street address, no PO boxes)
  • If you will be working remotely, this should also be noted

NOTE: If your letter does not show ALL of the information above, your CPT approval will be delayed. You may instead use the CPT e-form, and an automated email will be sent to your employer so that they can provide the required details about your employment.

  • Approval from your Academic Official (electronically via the CPT e-form), so discuss your plans with them first.
    • For undergraduate students, your Academic Official is your Academic Dean/Advisor
    • For graduate students, your Academic Official is your Graduate Program Director
    • For RBHS students, your Academic Official is your Registrar
      • Students in the School of Social Work should use the MSW Certification for CPT form
      • Students in the School of Social Work are also required to submit a Field Placement Confirmation form from SSW
  • Proof of registration for the CPT course appearing on your unofficial transcript (i.e. screenshot of web registration page showing your name, the relevant semester and course number)
  1. Pick up new I-20 with CPT authorization on page 2, after receiving an email saying it’s ready, or receiving it via email. You can ONLY begin working after you get the CPT I-20 from Rutgers Global - ISSS and the authorized employment period has begun. 

Please note that you should submit a Reduced Credit Form along with a CPT application if you are registering below full-time credit load during a fall or spring semester.

Proof of Employment Authorization +

When approved for CPT, an F-1 student receives an updated I-20 with the relevant CPT employment information displayed on page 2. Authorized employment may only begin after the student has received the updated I-20 from Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services and the start date shown on page 2 has arrived.

You can ONLY begin working after you get the CPT I-20 from Rutgers Global - ISSS and the authorized employment period has begun. 

You must apply for a separate CPT for EACH separate off-campus employment opportunity. 

Changes to CPT +

CPT is authorized for a specific employer for a defined period of time. Notify an international student adviser immediately if there is any change with your current CPT employment start/end date, address or number of hours per week. Ideally, changes should be reported to ISSS within 10 days.

If you would like to change employers or extend your CPT authorization into a new term/semester, a complete new CPT application must be submitted.  For CPT extensions during the current term/semester, contact an international student adviser for further guidance.  

CPT Dates +

Fall and Spring CPTs are generally authorized for dates within the semester. However, based on the curricular requirement they may be approved until before the start date of the following term without requiring additional CPT related course enrollment. 

Summer CPT may continue until before the start date of the fall term. 

Winter CPT may continue until before the start date of the spring term.

Final semester CPT may continue until the last day of classes for the term in which the CPT is authorized.