CPT Information

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Definition

The regulations state that a student may participate in a "curricular practical training program" that is

  • "an integral part of an established curriculum" and
  • "directly related to the student's major area of study."

The regulations further define curricular practical training as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." 

*Please note that students in English language programs are not eligible for either type of practical training.

Employment Eligibility

CPT is granted directly by the UCIE through an update to a student's SEVIS record. Below are the eligibility requirements:

  • The student is currently in valid F-1 status
  • The student has been enrolled on a full-time basis for 1 academic year
  • The student will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT
  • The training is "an integral part of an established curriculum"
  • The training is "directly related to the student's major area of study"
  • You are seeking:
    • One semester of full-time employment (over 20 hours) or
    • One semester of part time (20 hours or less) employment {requires full time course enrolment}


UCIE can authorize CPT if the proposed employment meets one of the three following conditions:

  1. The training employment is required of all degree candidates in the program and is necessary for the degree. Included in this category is employment in a required internship or practicum.
  2. The training employment must result in the awarding of academic credit or the training will be available through the WSU Co-Op Program. Included in this category is employment for an internship or "practicum" course specifically designed to award academic credit for an employment experience.
  3. Students in dissertation status where the training opportunity is an absolutely necessary component of the student's research without which the dissertation cannot be completed may be authorized to undertake CPT. A letter from the student's dissertation advisor explaining in detail the relationship between the proposed employment and the student's dissertation research must be provided.


Part-Time vs. Full-Time

Part-time Training

Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are enrolled in full time academic classes is is considered part-time CPT. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT, but you must apply each semester.

Full-Time Training

Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time CPT, and full time class registration is not required during authorized full-time CPT periods. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time CPT, however if you participate in twelve months or more of CPT you will not be eligible for post completion practical training. Student in the co-op program must alternate full-time work semesters with full time study semesters in order to maintain legal F-1 Status.



In general F-1 students who have been in the U.S. for less than five years are exempt from social security taxes (also known as F.I.C.A. tax). You should be sure to bring this to the attention of your employer because many employers are not familiar with this provision of international student tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply: federal, state and local.


Failure to Comply with Employment Regulations

It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students, including employment regulations. Working without the proper authorization is a serious violation of your student status.


Application Procedures

The first step is to request your department academic adviser to complete the Academic Departmental Certification below.  Turn it in with the completed CPT Application form to the UCIE.  Concurrently you must see the Co-Op Office in your college to set up the co-op between WSU and your employer. 

You may begin CPT only after it is authorized by UCIE and you receive your original I-20.  You must NOT work beyond the date authorized on the I-20.   Working without legal authorization will put your visa status in jeopardy.