Employment: CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

WHAT IS CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)?:

Read the complete CPT Guidelines HERE

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization is required to participate in any internship, work, experiential learning or training activity that is part of your academic program, whether paid or unpaid. CPT can only be granted when the internship/training is part of the academic curriculum. Examples include internships, practicum courses, fieldwork, externship and clinical placements that you need to do to graduate or to earn credits toward your degree. In some cases, CPT may be authorized for training or work that is conducted under the agreement of a contract between UConn and an outside institution, but the contract agreement must still be tied to UConn’s established curriculum. Students who are doing an internship or training experience as part of their academic program must see an International Advisor at International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) to determine CPT eligibility and to discuss application procedures.

ISSS International Advisors are the only individuals who can assess your eligibility for CPT.   Academic recommendation for a particular training opportunity does NOT guarantee eligibility for CPT authorization. If you want to do an internship and you are not eligible for CPT, you may be required to apply for pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) instead. OPT processing time can take several months, therefore meet with an ISSS International Advisor well in advance to discuss your internship/training opportunity.

IMPORTANT: Before you commit to the training opportunity, you must confirm your eligibility with an International Advisor. Your CPT must be authorized by an ISSS International Advisor and you must receive your CPT-approved Form I-20 BEFORE you may begin your training, and before you file the Form I-9 with your training site (if paid). Processing may take up to two weeks. Failure to obtain CPT authorization prior to the training start date may be a violation of your F-1 status. CPT authorization start dates cannot be back-dated.

 

TRAINING/INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENTS:

  • The internship/training must meet one of the following criteria:
  1. Fulfills a degree requirement or course requirement for the program (can be credit or non-credit bearing);
  2. Credit-bearing internship/field placement course that counts toward meeting elective credit requirements – must appear in your academic program’s published curriculum and appear on your plan of study;
  3. Required work to complete thesis/dissertation; must be registered for appropriate GRAD credits;
  4. Work that is integral to the established curriculum and is based on a cooperative agreement between UConn and an outside organization (can be non-credit bearing);

 

  • The internship/training opportunity must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • The opportunity must be short-term and training/internship in nature. Regular/permanent positions do not qualify for CPT authorization.

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS:

  • You must have been enrolled full-time for a complete academic year (fall and spring terms).
  • You must get an official offer letter from the internship/training site which includes: the name and address of the training site, training period start and end dates, required hours per week and a brief description of the training activities. For students placed in the internship/practicum/clinical site by academic department, student must obtain official notification of placement (letter, email or placement paperwork/contract) from their UConn department, detailing terms of placement.
  • You must maintain full time enrollment during the regular academic semester (Fall/Spring), even if you are authorized to do CPT during that time. If your CPT is based on credit bearing coursework, these credits count toward your full time registration.

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS:

  • Your academic advisor must recommend and demonstrate that the training/internship will count toward your degree (exception: CPT based on cooperative agreement does not have to count toward degree but must be integral to UConn’s established curriculum).
  • Students who have met all degree requirements and are ready to graduate are not eligible for CPT authorization.
  • If your internship is based on academic credit, you must be registered for those credits during the time you are on CPT.
  • Students who need CPT to complete dissertation/thesis research must be registered for appropriate credits representing that research, unless the CPT is based on a cooperative agreement.

CPT may be authorized on a part-time or full-time basis. CPT hours are not counted against the 20 hours/week that students are allowed to work during the semester through on-campus employment or pre-completion OPT, because CPT is part of your academic program.

Part-Time Training: Training for 20 hours or less per week is considered “part-time” CPT. If authorized to do part-time CPT, you must be careful to limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week.

Full-Time Training: Training for more than 20 hours per week is considered “full-time” CPT.

 

DURATION OF CPT

The length of time you can be authorized for CPT is determined by your academic requirements, because CPT internships/training are always based on the established program or University curriculum (for example, on a course or a degree requirement). However, if your CPT is based on an internship or practicum placement for credit, you must be registered for those credits during the time you are authorized for CPT. Your credit-bearing internship dates may extend into the non-academic term immediately prior and after, but may not extend into the preceding or following academic term (fall, spring or summer).

 

CPT EXTENSIONS

CPT cannot be extended. In the event that your training site would like to extend your placement, you must make a new CPT application, which is subject to review for eligibility to ensure the new period of training is part of your academic program. If you want to have the opportunity to continue working at your internship site beyond the period of OPT, it may be advisable to apply for pre-completion OPT at least 3 months before the internship end date. Please see your ISSS advisor for details.

 

EFFECT of USING CPT on OPT

If you have had 12 months of full-time CPT at a given degree level, you will be ineligible for OPT. This includes any CPT time you used at another institution in the U.S. at the same degree level. If you wish to remain eligible for OPT, you must count your days of authorized full time CPT approval very carefully. Part-time CPT authorization is not counted toward this 12 months.

Before accepting any training offer or registering for courses, please make an appointment to discuss your academic training opportunity with an ISSS International Advisor.

To apply for CPT, please submit the following documents to International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS):

  1. Completed Curricular Practical Training Application Form (ISSS 358)
  2. Copy of training offer letter or training placement paperwork certifying the following items:
    1. the experience is an internship or is training in nature
    2. the training site and address
    3. the training start date and end date
    4. hours required per week
    5. brief description of what you will do
  3. For a credit bearing training: Copy of course registration from StudentAdmin (PeopleSoft).
  4. Copy of enrollment verification including all semesters enrolled. Request this from the Registrar office at your campus. GBLC students may call the Storrs campus registrar and ask for an enrollment verification to be mailed.

 

Once approved, you will receive a revised SEVIS Form I-20 which you should present to your training site supervisor upon request.