F-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an opportunity for international students in F-1 status to participate in professional, temporary employment such as an internship, co-op program, practicum or similar situation, which is undertaken prior to the completion of studies. The training must either be a required part OR an integral part of the established curriculum and the student must receive academic credit for the employment that will count toward degree requirements.

Work must be required or an integral part of the program and directly related to major.

CPT is NOT a stop-gap or a back door to employment. For work that is directly related to the student’s major, but has no curricular component, the student should consider Optional Practical Training.

Important: Employment may begin only after the ISS advisor has authorized the CPT by endorsing your I-20. The I-20 is the official document authorizing the Curricular Practical Training employment.

Academic Credit Requirement

For the employment, the student must enroll in a class for credit and the class MUST either be required for the degree or the class must qualify as an elective course required for the student’s degree.

The period of employment should normally fall within the limits of a given academic term. Students participating in CPT during a fall or spring semester must continue to pursue a full course of study. Both failure to enroll in the specific course for which the CPT is approved and to complete the employment during the period of authorization will result in a violation of immigration status.


Students are eligible for CPT after they have completed two full semesters (fall and spring) in valid F-1 status (including enrolling full-time each semester and possessing a valid I-20). Time spent on an approved full-time study abroad program may be counted toward the two-semester requirement as long as the student has completed one semester in the U.S. before studying abroad.

Students who have finished all course requirements except for thesis, dissertation or equivalent may only participate in CPT if the employment is required in order to obtain data or observations from the employment that will be published in and significantly contribute to the thesis, dissertation or equivalent.

Full-Time vs Part-Time

Employment may be either full-time (over 20 hours a week) or part-time (20 hours or less a week). If 12 months of full-time CPT is used then no Optional Practical Training (OPT) is permitted at that degree level. Part-time CPT or less than 12 months of full time CPT will not impact the OPT period.


An international student advisor in the International Support Services Office (ISS) authorizes CPT. Employment may not begin until the proper authorization is obtained on page 2 of the student’s I-20 and must end by the authorized completion date. 

How to Apply

Please remember that employment may begin only after the ISS advisor has authorized the CPT by endorsing your I-20. The I-20 is the official document authorizing the Curricular Practical Training employment.

Obtain a letter from the employer specifying the dates of employment, expected hours worked per week, job title, and a job description.

Talk to your CPT course instructor and your academic advisor before submitting the CPT e-forms in iHawk. 

Log into iHawk using your KU online ID and password. Go to "F-1 Practical Training" --> "CPT Request".  

Submit both parts of the e-form group (CPT Part 1 Instructor Recommendation and CPT Part 2 Advisor Recommendation) in order.

You may find it helpful to bring a portable device to submit e-forms in front of your course instructor/advisor. If you do, make sure you have a PDF of the employer's letter accessible to upload. 

  • Once you submit both e-forms, the instructor you listed in Part 1 will immediately receive an email requesting recommendation of your CPT.
  • When the instructor completes his/her verification, then the academic advisor you listed in Part 2 will receive an email requesting input.
  • Once the academic advisor completes his/her verification, you will receive an email to come to ISS for CPT application processing.

Once Part 2 of your CPT e-form request is in "pending" status, meet with an ISS advisor during DROP-IN advising, to review and process your request. Please refer to our Advising webpage for more information on advising hours.

The ISS advisor will verify your F-1 status and confirm that the employment meets the curricular requirements.  If the ISS advisor approves the CPT, a new I-20 will be issued with the employment authorization.

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