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 are encouraged to attend an Off-Campus Employment Workshop to learn the regulatory requirements and authorization procedure—see our employment workshops schedule (please note to arrive to each workshop on time).

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

Additional Information

Eligibility +

F-1 students eligible for CPT are:

  • Offered a paid or unpaid employment opportunity qualified for CPT
  • Have been a full time student 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.

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, 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 

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 an Off-Campus Employment Workshop (recommended)—please see our event calendar for upcoming workshops.
  2. Consult with your school/program regarding academic eligibility for CPT
  3. Prepare application materials:
    • 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)
    • Certification for CPT form, completed by employer and Undergraduate Academic Dean, Graduate Program Director or Registrar (for RBHS students) 
    • Proof of registration for the CPT course if not yet appearing on your unofficial transcript (i.e. screenshot of web registration page showing your name, the relevant semester and course number)
  4. Submit completed CPT application online through the RGlobal portal
  5. Pick up new I-20 with CPT authorization on page 2, after receiving an email saying it’s ready

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

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.

Changes to CPT +

CPT is authorized for a specific employer for a defined period of time.  Notify an international student adviser if there is any change with your current CPT employment start/end date, address or number of hours per week.  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.