Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 

Definition of CPT

According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Curricular Practical Training (or, 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” [ 8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i)]. This training must be an integral part of an established curriculum, related to the student’s field of study, appropriate for the student’s level of study, and authorized by the student’s International Student Advisor before the student begins his or her training.

At SUNY Plattsburgh, CPT can be required or recommended by the student’s academic program. CPT can be paid or unpaid. It can be for credit or not for credit. CPT is always off-campus, off-site and the training/employment is essential to achieving an educational objective.

 The International Student Advisor is required by U.S. federal regulations to authorize CPT for F-1 students prior to the start of practical training in the following scenarios:

  1. The student is taking a course for credit that is specifically called an internship course.
  2. The student is scheduled to train/work at an off-campus job site where the student completes either a project or specific training/work for a course taken for credit
  3. The student is expected to complete a work experience that is required of all students in the academic program, whether credit is given or not (i.e. required practicum or field work for which credit is not granted, but the student must complete a certain number of hours to graduate).
  4. The student is expected to complete an off-campus work experience that fulfills a graduation requirement.

NOTE: If the student does not obtain prior authorization from the International Student Advisor for CPT, the student is considered in violation of status. In such cases, the International Student Advisor is required by U.S. federal regulations to immediately terminate the student’s SEVIS record.


To be eligible for practical training permission, the student must:

  1. Hold valid F-1 non-immigrant status (i.e. be enrolled full-time and be maintaining legal status).
  2. Have been a full-time student in the U.S. for one academic year (i.e. two semesters) OR be a graduate student who is required to begin practical training immediately.

Required Documents

Application Procedure

  1. Student schedules a meeting with his or her academic advisor to discuss the student's internship/practicum/cooperative education ideas. Academic advisor must review the student’s internship, practicum, or cooperative education plan and complete a CPT Advisor’s Authorization Form (above).
  2. Student should gather all documentation relating to the proposed internship, practicum, etc. (i.e. signed affiliation contract, signed learning contract, or job offer letter on company letterhead from employer which indicate start and end dates, job responsibilities, number of hours, pay, and address of employer).
  3. Student schedules an appointment with the International Student Advisor and should bring the completed forms and documentation to the International Student Advisor at the time of the appointment.
  4. During the appointment, the International Student Advisor will evaluate the documents. If all the documents are in order, the International Student Advisor will authorize CPT in the SEVIS system for the dates specified and issue a new I-20 to reflect the CPT approval. The student must not work before or after the specified dates on the new I-20.
  5. The student must register as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduate, 9 credits for graduates). Please note that if you are in your last semester and have done a reduced course load, you are considered full-time and maintaining your status. If you are participating in CPT in either the summer or winter terms, it is not necessary for you to be registered full-time in order to be authorized for training/employment for CPT.

Important Notes While On CPT

  1. CPT employment is valid only for the dates of authorization. Authorization from the International Student Advisor must be obtained each semester a student will be participating in CPT.
  2. Curricular Practical Training is authorized as part-time or full-time. Part-time practical training is limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week. Full-time practical training is anything over 20 hours a week.
  3. There is no limit to the number of times a student may participate in part-time CPT as long as the student maintains valid F-1 status.
  4. If a student uses 365 days or more of full-time CPT, the student is ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  5. The student must report any changes to his or her CPT arrangements as it will require a new CPT authorization from his or her International Student Advisor. Examples of changes to CPT are: 1) the training moves from part-time to full-time (or vice versa), 2) the training is expected to extend beyond the dates specified, 3) the student changes employers and training sites, 4) the student discontinues training at the current site of CPT.
  6. The student should show his or her new Form I-20 with CPT authorization to his or her employer as a proof that he or she has permission to train/work in the United States.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about international education, admission, or financial aid at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Global Education Office
State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Kehoe Administration Building, Room 210
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901 USA

Phone: 1-518-564-3287
Fax: 1-518-564-3292
Facebook:  SUNY Plattsburgh International Students