Office of International Affairs International Student & Scholar Services

Applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training makes it possible for F-1 students to gain specific practical work experience required by an established degree program.  Such training must be an integral part of the curriculum, and the student must be receiving academic credit if the training is not a required part of the degree program.  It provides legal authorization for the F-1 student to be in a work environment whether or not payment of wages is involved.  Required internships, practica and other work requirements as listed in the Texas Tech catalogs are examples of such programs.  The Cooperative Education program administered by the Career Center may qualify for CPT.  In certain circumstances, graduate students who must work for an employer while doing thesis or dissertation research might qualify for CPT.  Questions concerning the appropriateness of CPT in specific situations should be addressed to an International Student Counselor at 742-2974.

A student must have been in F-1 status for an academic year to be eligible for CPT.  A graduate student whose degree program requires a practicum to begin immediately may be eligible for an exception to this rule.  In certain circumstances, time spent in full-time study in another immigration status may count toward satisfaction of the rule.

Curricular Practical Training is authorized by an International Student Counselor with an endorsement on your I-20 form.  No application to DHS or an EAD card is required.  The I-20 endorsement provides specific dates for beginning and ending authorization and specifies the employer and site of work.  The endorsement must be obtained before work begins.

Curricular Practical Training can be either full-time, which does require at least a minimal enrollment, or part-time (up to 20 hours per week of work), which requires full-time enrollment.  Full-time CPT of 12 months or more makes F-1 students ineligible for subsequent Optional Practical Training. 

Application Procedures:

1) Obtain an advisor’s letter or Cooperative Education letter on letterhead providing required CPT information.  Required information includes a description of the work experience, name of employer, beginning and ending dates of employment, and explanation of how the experience will be monitored and graded. (A sample letter is available on this webpage)

2) Obtain an International Student Counselor's approval of CPT on form I-20 (When meeting with a Counselor, always have all immigration documents with you).

revised: 7/2007

Texas Tech University Office of International Affairs, MS 5004, 742-2974, fax 742-1286