Curricular Practical Training

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 For students seeking simple on-campus employment during their period of study
For students seeking to partake in employment that is integral to their study
For students seeking temporary employment directly related to their academic program
For qualifying STEM degree recipients who wish to extend their OPT allowance
For students seeking information to refine or expand their understanding of employment benefits and responsibilities.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Important Links
OISPS applications and forms
An F-1 student may be authorized by the Designated School Official (DSO), to participate in a CPT program which is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is defined to be alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. It is important to note that students who have received 12 months or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT).


  • How can I know if I am eligible for CPT?
    To be eligible for CPT, you must:
    • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis while physically present in the US for one academic year (i.e. two consecutive long semesters) unless your academic program requires immediate participation for all students.
    • Be in lawful F-1 status
    • Have a job offer
    • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program.
  • What CPT opportunities are available to me?
    CPT opportunities vary by academic department. To determine if you might qualify for any CPT based on your major, you should contact your advisor within that major's academic department. Refer to the list of LU Colleges and Departments here to find your advisor's contact information.

CPT Application Steps

  • What documents do I need to apply?

    Students requesting CPT must submit documents listed below to the International Office. Incomplete  documentation will not be accepted!

    • CPT Support letter from your Academic Department / Advisor
    • Internship Approval Form (labeled "Attachment II - CPT Application")
      • There are two version of this form based on your Degree Level. Choose and fill out the appropriate form based on whether you are a Graduate or an Undergraduate CPT seeker.
    • Employment offer on official company letterhead, which includes:
      • Brief description of the position
      • Company name, physical address, and telephone number
      • Starting and ending dates of employment
      • Part- or full-time employment

    You will also require copies of:

  • Where do I find the offices needed for the signatures in Attachment II?
    Students will also be required to obtain additional signature based on their degree level:
  • What should I do with all of these forms?

    With all forms ready and scanned, you will be required to fill out and submit OISPS' CPT application form here. In this form will be included spaces to upload scanned copies of your documents. Student are encourage to submit this application two months in advance of your CPT start date.

    Please note that you are not authorized for your internship until you receive the updated I-20 from the LU International Office. I-20s cannot be backdated to retroactively authorize CPT employment. Remember, if you work without authorization while in F-1 status, you will lose your F-1 status.

     OISPS will review your documents to ensure your compliance with the F-1 visa regulations.

  • If approved by OISPS ...

    Curricular Practical Training is granted directly by the DSO through an update to a student's SEVIS record and by reissuing a Form I-20 annotated on page 3 with the grant of CPT. If approved, you will be contacted to receive this updated I-20. Students must receive and sign the updated I-20 before starting CPT. USCIS approval is not necessary.

    Note: F-1 students approved for CPT must provide the original SEVIS form I-20 to Social Security Administration indicating their authorized CPT status to apply for a SSN.

    Additional Information may be located on USCIS website at:

CPT - Rules and Characteristics

  • What characteristics define CPT?
    • CPT is integral to your major and the experience must be part of your program of study.
    • When you enroll at the graduate level, your designated school official (DSO) may authorize CPT during your first semester if your program requires this type of experience. Ask your DSO for details.
    • OISPS will need to provide you a new Form I-20 that shows that a DSO has approved you for this employment.
    • If the CPT is approved, the student will be eligible for part time (20 hrs. or less per week) employment during Fall and Spring semesters. Any use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT (Optional Practical Training).
    • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from your employer.
    • If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.

    CPT Quick -Reference

    CPT Regulations outline
    Preconditions Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training. Available only while student is in F-1 status, before completion of the educational objective. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for CPT.
    Location Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS.
    Duration Depends on the specific period granted by the DSO. May be granted by DSO in increments of no more than one year, or until expected date of employment completion, whichever is shorter. No cumulative maximum, except that it can only be approved before completion of the academic objective.
    Hours per week Can be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours).
    Field / level of work Must be an integral part of an established curriculum, in the student's course of study.
    Offer of employment Must have an offer of internship from an employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training.
    Effect on other work Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training. Use of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training
    Approval Process Must receive written authorization from DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation, before work begins. USCIS approval is not required.
    Miscellaneous Must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment.
  • OISPS CPT requirements
    • A student may begin CPT only after receiving his or her I-20 with DSO endorsement. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for CPT. Below are the LU OISPS CPT policies:
    • The International Office will only communicate using the Lamar University email account (MyLamar) regarding CPT Applications.
    • Complete applications can take TEN BUSINESS DAYS for processing in the International Office.
    • Provided CPT is approved, the first day of employment will be no earlier than the 1st day of class and will end on the last class day of the semester unless the employer states an earlier termination date.
    • Because CPT is subject to wide varying interpretations and potential abuse, Lamar University takes a conservative view. CPT can be authorized only for a specific job with a particular employer for a specific length of time.
    • CPT internship is not permitted for on-campus employment (employment by Lamar University). In this case, the student will be employed as a student assistant, graduate assistant, teaching or research assistant. CPT internships are designed for “off-campus employment”.
    • In addition to the department’s approval, a CPT application may be denied by the P/DSO in the International Office due to discrepancies and/or unmet qualification(s) of DHS regulations.
    • CPT employments must cease before the date of degree completion. Continuing CPT employment beyond the actual completion date is illegal and is a violation of F-1 status.
    • Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a SEVP approved school for one full academic year (9 months - i.e. Fall & Spring or Spring & Fall; summer enrollment does not count).
    • Students who are returning for a second Master's or Doctorate at the end of their OPT, are required to have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year (12 months) before they will be eligible for CPT. Students will not be eligible for immediate CPT upon their return for a 2nd degree.
    • Student must have a Lamar University grade point average of 3.0 (graduate students) or 2.0 (undergraduates). The student’s academic department may require a higher GPA.
    • Student must be enrolled full time (9 hrs. for graduate or 12 hrs. for undergraduate) during a fall or spring semester; if the CPT is approved, the student will be eligible for part time (20 hrs. or less per week) employment during these semesters.
    • All Students are required to obtain their major's respective academic Dean's approval & signature before submitting the CPT petition to the International Office (on CPT Attachment II). Failure to comply with this policy will delay your CPT petition process.
    • Students will also be required to obtain additional signature based on their degree level:
    • Provided the student has met the full academic year of lawful enrollment, the student may be approved for full-time CPT during the summer sessions.
    • The employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum in the student’s course of study.
    • Student must have an original and currently dated employment offer letter from the company that you will be employed by.
    • Student must register and receive a grade for the appropriate CPT course which is determined by the student’s academic adviser or chairperson. The CPT course must be listed in the institution’s catalog. The student must register for the CPT course before the DSO may approve/authorize the CPT. The student’s department will determine how the student will receive a grade for the specific CPT course. Student must continue enrollment in the specific CPT course for each semester that the CPT is authorized.
    • A student must be registered for the summer sessions and may begin employment no earlier than the 1st class day and must cease employment by the last class day of the semester.
    • Student may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO on their I-20 Form.
    • Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT.
    • It is the student’s responsibility to receive written authorization from the DSO before the student may be employed.
    • Failure to maintain lawful status (full-time enrollment, valid Form I-20, etc.) will result in immediate termination of employment.
    • Full time CPT is permissible during summer sessions provided the student is eligible for this program. Student is required to enroll in the specific CPT course during the summer sessions.
    • Students who have completed all required course work with the exception of the thesis, may engage in full or part-time CPT with their major department’s approval.
    • Students may not defer graduation because of employment benefits.
  • Second degree CPT seekers
    ATTENTION: GRADUATE STUDENTS RETURNING FOR A SECOND MASTER’S DEGREE: Student’s returning for a second master’s degree are required to satisfy the one full year (12 months) full time enrollment before they are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
  • Dangers to observe
    If you enroll in a CPT internship course and do not complete the credit within the given semester, you will lose your F-1 status. If you receive an “I” (Incomplete) grade or “W” (Withdrawal) from the course, you have worked without fulfilling the obligations of CPT and will be in violation of your immigration status.