Curricular Practical Training

If you are an F-1 student, you have the option of working in the United States by engaging in practical training during your program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills you are learning in school. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment authorization with a specific employer for a specific period of time. It enables a student to take part in a practicum, internship, field placement or other work experience that is an “integral part of an established curriculum”.

At SUNY Poly, we use the following criteria to determine whether your proposed employment qualifies for CPT authorization:

  • It is an internship, practicum, field placement or other type of employment / service that is required for your degree
  • It is taken for academic credit toward the degree
  • The employment / experience will be evaluated by a faculty member at SUNY Poly, will be graded and will appear on your transcript
  • You will be registered for the appropriate course and credits in the semester during which the employment will occur. Note: Summer registration is required for summer internships
  • Please contact your academic department for CPT related course(s)

What if my department does not offer an internship, Co-Op or practicum?

If your department does not offer an internship, practicum or Co-Op, then you may not be able to pursue this type of employment. Because CPT is directly linked to the curriculum of your department, not every F-1 student at SUNY Poly will have the opportunity to utilize CPT. In cases where you will not be getting credit, or you will simply be gaining experience in your field, you should apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) instead. 

Who is eligible for CPT?

To be eligible for CPT, you must meet the following conditions, in addition to those mentioned above:

  • You are currently in valid F-1 status AND
  • You have been in lawful status and a full-time student for at least one academic year (two semesters) at a U.S. school authorized to issue SEVIS I-20’s AND
  • You have a job offer for an internship from a specific employer with established beginning and ending dates

Can my CPT be full-time or part-time?

  • Part-time CPT involves up to 20 hours of work per week
  • Full-time CPT involves more than 20 hours of work per week. This is only an option: during the summer OR
  • For students whose degree programs require internships involving more than 20 hours of work per week OR
  • For graduate students whose thesis, project or dissertation requires CPT and who are only enrolled in Thesis / Dissertation Guidance OR
  • When the CPT opportunity is considered as full-time enrollment by your academic department and you are only enrolled in the CPT

How long can I use CPT?

Since few academic programs at SUNY Poly require more than two or three semesters of work / service experience, most students will be eligible for only two or three semesters of CPT. CPT will not be authorized in situations where Optional Practical Training is more appropriate or for work to be done after completion of your degree requirements.  The PDSO will make the determination.

Note: If you are authorized for 12 or more months of full-time CPT, you lose your eligibility for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training. Any part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT.

 How do I apply for CPT? (Easy!  A total of just one step...)

Step 1: CPT Application Form and upload a training offer letter from a specific employer that includes the following information:

a. Job title and brief job description

b. Exact dates of employment

c. Number of hours of work per week

d. Full time or part time

e. Company's name

f. Physical location of company (street address, no PO Boxes)

g. Name of supervisor (last name, first name)

h. Supervisor's contact number

i. Supervisor's email address

j. Printed on official business letterhead

We will review your CPT application form with your Department Chair, Amos Confer (CIS) or John Marsh (NCS).  We will notify you if your CPT application is approved or denial within 5 business days upon receiving your application form.

How long will it take to process my CPT application?

The Office of International Admissions reviews CPT applications on a case-by-case basis. Review of a CPT application takes approximately 5 business days.  If CPT is approved, the Office of International Admissions will update your information in SEVIS and print a new I-20, endorsed with your CPT authorization.

When can I start my off-campus internship / field placement?

You cannot begin working until you receive the CPT endorsement on your I-20. CPT is only valid for the period between the beginning and ending dates on your I-20. Retroactive authorizations will not be granted. Any work that takes place outside the CPT approval dates is unauthorized employment.

May I change employers while on CPT?

No, CPT is employer-specific. Separate applications for CPT are required if you want to work for different employers.

What if I want to extend my internship and my CPT?

When authorized for CPT, you are permitted to work only from the specified beginning date through the specified ending date. If you need to extend your employment authorization, you will need to submit another CPT application. Please keep processing times in mind and submit your application to extend your CPT in a timely manner.  Please also keep in mind that extensions of CPT are not guaranteed.

Can I apply for CPT after I have applied for Post-Completion OPT?

No, once you apply for Post-Completion OPT, you are no longer eligible for CPT.  Remember, CPT must be an “integral part of an established curriculum”. You are not eligible for CPT if you have completed all degree requirements.


Tze-Teck Sim, PDSO
Deputy Director, International Admissions & Student Services
Undergraduate and Graduate programs
Tel: +1 315-792-7219
Fax: +1 315-792-7221


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