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 or academic departments) 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 are required to attend an Off-Campus Employment Workshop to learn the regulatory requirements and authorization procedure—see our employment workshops schedule.

Additional Information

Eligibility +

F-1 students eligible for CPT are:

  • Offered a paid or unpaid employment opportunity qualified for CPT
  • In F-1 status for at least one academic year (if a graduate program curriculum requires enrolled students to immediately participate in curricular practical training, F-1 students may be exempt from the one academic year requirement)
  • In good academic standing
  • 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

Full Time versus Part Time CPT +

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.

Graduate students may be authorized for full time CPT if you meet all three of the following requirements:

  • you have completed all course work or  you are in the last semester to complete the course work and are taking a less than full-time load
  • you are working on a dissertation, project, or thesis, and
  • you have your graduate program director's written support stating that the full-time CPT is necessary for you to complete your  dissertation, project, or thesis

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 does not affect eligibility for OPT.

How to Apply for CPT +

  1. Review this website and attend the center’s mandatory Off-Campus Employment Workshop—please see our event calendar for upcoming workshops.
  2. Consult with your academic department for academic eligibility before obtaining job offer 
  3. Obtain an official job offer letter. (Students in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy are required to have the Preceptor’s Certification for CPT form completed for rotations and must submit this form instead of a job offer letter)
  4. Submit a Certification for CPT form and job offer letter to Undergraduate Academic Dean or Graduate Program Director for evaluation and approval
  5. Register in the corresponding course for the practical training (as indicated by the your undergraduate academic dean or graduate program director on the Certification for CPT forms)
  6. After registration, submit completed CPT application to assigned international student adviser (through email, during walk in hours, or by submitting the documents to the front office). A completed CPT application includes:
  7. Pick up new I-20 that includes CPT information on page 2, after receiving an email from an international student adviser saying it’s ready

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 the start date shown on page 2 has arrived.