Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 international students to participate in paid off-campus academic internships during their degree program.

The purpose of CPT is academic, not just for employment purposes, and the internship must be considered an integral part of a student’s degree program. Students must have a specific job/internship offer to apply.

If the internship is an unpaid or volunteer position, CPT is not required but students cannot accept any kind of compensation for work performed.

F-1 Student Status Requirement

Students must have been in F-1 student status for at least one academic year and must have properly maintained their F-1 status each semester before they can apply for CPT. The only exception to this rule applies to those students who are in degree programs that require internship/practicum hours to fulfill their degree requirements.

Hours of Employment

  • Work hours are limited to 20 hours per week (part-time) during fall and spring semesters and 40 hours per week (full-time) during summer semesters.
  • Total hours—combining on- and off-campus hours and graduate assistantship positions—worked in any semester cannot exceed 40 hours per week.
  • During summer, students may be registered for CPT unit(s) only and still be able to maintain student status. 
  • Students can work full-time in their final semester, with department approval, as long as they are enrolled in 6 or less units as an undergraduate student or 4 or less units as a graduate student. The total number of units includes the internship course. Also, CPT may be approved full-time when students are registered for thesis units only. 
  • Program extensions will not be granted only for the purpose of working with CPT.

Application Process

CPT authorization is given on a semester basis and students must apply separately for each semester they wish to do CPT. CPT is only authorized for the dates of the specific semester.

Registration for Academic Credit:  In order to receive CPT authorization, students must be registered for 1-2 academic units in an internship course or a class that requires an internship at Dominican during the semester they wish to do CPT. Students must register for the units and complete the application process for each semester they wish to do CPT.

Students will need to receive approval from their academic adviser with what internship they can register for.

CPT Processing Information

Students must complete the CPT Application Form—consult the CPT packet for all required documentation.

Once all documents are submitted to GEO and the application is complete, GEO will process an updated I-20 that lists on page 3 the location of the internship and whether the CPT is part- or full-time. CPT I-20 start dates will be listed either as the requested start date or as the approval date, whichever is later. 

Processing time for CPT applications at GEO is 5 business days. Students cannot begin working until they receive their new I-20 with CPT authorization from GEO.


CPT does not interfere with students’ eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation unless they have done a total of 12 months full-time CPT during their degree program. In this case, they would lose the option to do OPT. Amounts under the 12 months full-time do not cancel any portion of OPT.