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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization that makes it possible for an F-1 international student to work off-campus if the work is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study and has a curricular requirement. CPT is generally done on a part-time (up to 20 hours a week) basis during the school year when enrolled in classes or on a full-time (over 20 hours a week) during vacation periods.


You are eligible for F-1 CPT if you're an F-1 student with an active SEVIS record at the time of application, and you've been in full-time student status for at least one academic year (two full semesters) preceding the CPT application. An exception to this rule: Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participation in an internship may apply before having met the one academic year requirement.

F-1 students on part-time CPT during the school year must be registered full-time. Students who are on full-time CPT during a leave of absence must return to at least one full semester of enrollment after completion of their internship. Students on reduced course load for medical reasons may not be eligible for CPT.

CPT is for students who are still actively engaged in their program. Once degree requirements have been met, CPT is no longer an option. Once degree requirements are completed, students should pursue the OPT option.

Note: F-1 regulations do not allow the extension of an I-20 for purpose of employment. Extensions must be based on academic curricular requirements.

You must have a curricular requirement to qualify for CPT. A "curricular requirement" is defined as one or more of the following: 

  • Completion of an internship is required for your degree.  
  • The internship experience is a required part of your dissertation or thesis. 
  • Employment is required to earn credits for a specific class. One credit must be completed for each semester of approved CPT.
  • You will participate in an established Co-op Program

Note: Exceptions to the two-semester enrollment requirement are the following:

  • Transfer students who enrolled at their previous SEVP approved institution for two semesters will become eligible for part-time CPT after their first semester at Cornell and full-time for the following summer if not enrolled in credits during summer.
  • Graduate students with the following program codes
    • BADM-MBA

Will part-time CPT fulfill my degree’s internship requirement? 

Your academic department or campus sets the number of hours you must work to fulfill the requirement. This could be part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (40 hours). 

Can I get CPT now to fulfill a past course requirement?  

Courses that require employment to earn credit should be taken at the same time as the employment or after it.  The course cannot be taken before employment.  

Can I get CPT for work related to my graduate thesis topic? 

To fulfill a dissertation or graduate thesis requirement, the CPT should be a required research component of your topic. 

When can I register for Law 6730, NMI 5100, or ILR 5990?

If you are a graduate-level Law, JGSM, or ILR student, you can register online for Law 6730, NMI 5100, or ILR 5990, when your college or school makes the registration live. These courses are not available to undergraduates.


Additional Information

While you may apply for up to 12 months of full-time CPT during your degree, full-time CPT is offered on a per-semester basis, and you must apply separately for CPT for each new employer/internship.

Part-time CPT is defined as working 20 hours or less per week and does not affect Optional Practical Training eligibility.

Note: Cornell Tech Masters students must get permission from their program director to work over 10 hours per week due to the intensity of the accelerated programs.

Full-time CPT is defined as working more than 20 hours per week. If you accumulate 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, then you will not be eligible for OPT. If you are participating in full-time CPT during a semester in which you are on a leave of absence, your employment dates MUST span the entirety of the semester. As an international student, you must either be registered or participate in full-time CPT to maintain status, there is no flexibility on this policy.

You can qualify for CPT at any time of year, but the amount of time you can work depends on whether you are registered for classes. You must file a new CPT application for each CPT and you must have CPT approved by the Office of Global Learning before working. CPT Time Examples: Fall, Spring, Spring/Summer, Summer, Summer/Fall

  • When the university is in session and you are registered for classes, you may only work part-time (up to 20 hours a week).

    • Note: Cornell Tech Masters students must get permission from their program directors to work over 10 hours per week due to the intensity of the accelerated programs. 
  • In the summer and during winter break, if you are not registered for classes, you may work full-time (up to 40 hours a week). The earliest you can have this kind of work authorization is the day after your last paper is due or your last exam. The latest date for full-time CPT is the day before the University starts classes, per the University's academic calendar.

Can I take a leave of absence to work? 

If the internship is integral to your degree program, you can take a leave of absence for a semester in order to work full-time, as long as you meet all other criteria for CPT. Your employment has to cover the entire semester, start no later than the first day of classes, and end no earlier than the last day of classes. 

When should I start and stop my summer internship? 

Your summer work should start no earlier than the day after spring semester ends. It can continue only until the day before classes start in the fall, as listed on the university academic calendar.

If my authorization is based on a course, when do I take the course credit related to my CPT? 

  • For summer CPT: Take the course credit the following fall. 
  • For spring and fall semester part-time CPT: Take the course credit at the same time as your employment or the following semester. 
  • For full-time CPT over winter break: Take the course credit in the spring.  

You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You cannot begin before the start date or continue working after the end date listed on your CPT-endorsed I-20. If you will need to work beyond your end date, then you must reapply for CPT well in advance of the current CPT end date and be approved by International Services.  If you work past the end date, you will be working illegally and could lose your immigration status.

You need an employment letter for a job related to your field of study. The letter must include the following information:

  • Specific start and end dates

  • Description of your position duties (details of the work that will be performed)
  • Full or part-time number of hours per week
  • Location - employer street address
  • Signature on company letterhead

Can I start my job before I get CPT authorization? 

No. You must get CPT authorization from the Office of Global Learning or Student & Academic Affairs at Cornell Tech(Tech students) before you begin working. 

Can I get CPT after I graduate from my program?  

If you have graduated, you do not qualify for CPT—but you may qualify for OPT after graduation. 

Will my CPT affect my eligibility for OPT?

CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT unless you work for 12 months or more in full-time CPT. Working for 12 months or more in full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT. 

CPT Steps

  1. Student completes the CPT form

  2. Academic Advisor or Program Director at Cornell Tech (Tech students) completes their part of the CPT form
  3. International Services or Student & Academic Affairs at Cornell Tech (Tech students) receives CPT form completed by the student and academic advisor or Program Director (Tech students) for final review and verification
  4. International Services or Student & Academic Affairs at Cornell Tech (Tech students) reviews the CPT application in 5 business days and creates CPT I-20 if the application is approved
  5. Student receives CPT-endorsed I-20 and proceeds with CPT as per the approved start date on the I-20

Ready to Apply?

Apply for CPT through the myStatus portal.

Cornell Tech Students: Please navigate to the Cornell Tech header within your myStatus Portal to locate your CPT I-20 request form.