Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an F-1 off-campus work authorization option for paid or unpaid internships, externships, or jobs that are:

  1. required for all students in your degree program
  2. required for a credit-bearing course that will count toward your degree
  3. part of an established cooperative educational agreement between your department and employer

The type of CPT requirement for your degree, course, or co-op internship affects the conditions and the application process.

CPT is approved by ISSP directly, and there is no fee to apply. Once ISSP has received your complete CPT application, you will receive a notification when your new I-20 with the CPT authorization is available to download and print for your own use.

Types of CPT

Degree Requirement

CPT may be authorized when the employment/internship is required by every student in the degree program in order to obtain that degree at UCSC. Class credit is not necessary for students in this situation. Students whose degrees require employment/internships may apply for CPT immediately after starting at UCSC.

Course Credit

If the job/internship is not a degree requirement, then CPT may also be authorized for students who enroll in a course (often an independent or field study course) where they will receive credit for the employment, and the employment is integral to their program of study.

CPT is authorized on a quarterly basis, and students must reapply each term.


To be approved for CPT, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (3 quarters). The only exception will be for F-1 students who must work as a requirement for their degree program
  • Undergraduate students must have officially declared a major. The proposed major is not sufficient.
  • Be registered full-time at UCSC. CPT cannot be used if you are on filing fee status, or after you have graduated
  • Have secured a job/internship that is directly related to your field of study and is a required or integral part of your program
    • If an internship is not a requirement of the degree, you will be required to be enrolled in a course, during the term of the CPT, such as independent study, field study, or research class (for graduate-level students).

Beginning employment/internship

You can begin working only after you have received CPT authorization from ISSP. CPT authorization cannot be back-dated, and your employment/internship is limited to your CPT authorization dates and employer. If you wish to extend your CPT, add an employer, or change employers, you must submit a new CPT request at least 2 weeks before your intended start date

Earliest start date: Can start as early as the day AFTER the quarter ends during the term prior to CPT (i.e CPT in Winter, can start the day AFTER fall quarter ends per UCSC Academic/futures calendar)

Latest end date: Allowed up until the day prior to the first day of instruction for the upcoming term following CPT (or until your I-20 program end date, whichever comes earlier)

Summer: Full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week) is allowed for all continuing students in the summer. Students who enroll in summer as their final term are limited to part-time CPT employment (20 hours or less per week) unless they are a PhD student who has Advanced to Candidacy. Course enrollment (as mentioned above) is required for integral CPT authorization for all students. Additional enrollment is required for CPT students whose final term is in summer. Failure to enroll in the required class will result in a denial of CPT approval.

Work hours

Fall, Winter, Spring Terms: Students are limited to part-time CPT (20 hours or less per week) while classes are in session. As long as you meet all CPT eligibility requirements and you are fully enrolled for the term, you are allowed to do both CPT and on-campus employment for up to 20 hours per week each.

For PhD students who have Advanced to Candidacy, you may be eligible for full-time CPT authorization during any term as long as the work is directly related to your dissertation, you are fully enrolled (5 units or more), and you have support from your Graduate Advisor.

Summer Terms and School Breaks: Continuing students may apply for full-time CPT authorization (more than 20 hours per week) during breaks or summer terms. If summer is your final term, then you are limited to part-time CPT authorization (20 hours or less).

How to Apply

  1. Review the CPT information and guidelines above.
  2. Obtain an official, signed offer letter that includes the following information:
    • Your first and last name
    • Employer’s name 
    • Employer’s address
    • Where the student will be working (remotely, employer address, other, etc)
    • Job title
    • Job duties
    • Expected hours per week
    • Exact start and end dates of the employment/internship
      1. End date should reflect the same information as the ISSP request form. These dates will be reflected on the I-20.  
      2. If the internship is ongoing, students are required to obtain a new letter each term with the appropriate end date for that specific term.  This ensures employers, students, and all parties involved are clearly aware this is a quarterly approval*
  3. Proof of official enrollment in the appropriate academic course (e.g. independent study, field study, etc.), such as your MyUCSC class schedule.
  4. Log into iGlobal, select “F-1 Employment” on the left navigation, and complete the Undergraduate CPT Request or Graduate CPT Request.
  5. Submit your completed CPT Request Form, offer letter, and proof of enrollment via iGlobal at least two weeks before your proposed job start date.
  6. Please allow 10 business days (2 weeks) for processing. ISSP will send an email when your new CPT I-20 is ready. Please ensure you do not start your job until you receive confirmation of the approval.

Note: CPT approval is required on a quarterly basis. If your internship is more than one quarter, you will need to resubmit paperwork for each term.

Changing Employers or Multiple Employers on CPT

CPT is employer-specific. You must apply for a new CPT authorization for each employer.

Effect on OPT Eligibility

If you receive 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, you are not eligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.

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Last modified: Dec 04, 2023