UMD: A Globally Connected University

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

As stated in the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations, F-1 students wishing to participate in an off-campus training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum must first obtain work authorization known as CPT. The training is defined as an alternative 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, and must be in the student's major field of study. You must obtain CPT authorization BEFORE you begin working.

Eligibility

  • You must have been maintaining F-1 status for at least one academic year (2 semesters) and be a student in good academic standing.
  • Training must be in student's major field of study
  • GPA requirements:
    • Undergraduates: 2.00
    • Graduates: 3.00
  • Transfer students and Program level changes
    • New transfer students are not eligible for CPT in their first semester at UMCP
    • Bachelors students who graduate and begin a graduate program are not eligible for CPT in their first semester of that new graduate program
    • UMCP Masters students who begin a new graduate program at UMCP in a different field of study are not eligible for CPT in their first semester of the new graduate program

Limitations

  • Hours per week:
    • In general, maximum 20 hours per week during the semester, including on campus work (part-time)
    • No maximum limit during school vacations (full-time)
    • Only part-time CPT in student's final term (including summer)
  • Location:
    • Students engaged in CPT for non-required or non-research courses are mainly limited to internships in the DC metro area during Fall/Spring semesters.
    • CPT's effect on Optional Practical Training (OPT)
      • Students who participate in 11+ months of full-time CPT become ineligible to apply for OPT
    • Thesis/dissertation students in final term
      • CPT cannot be authorized past thesis/dissertation defense date. If CPT was originally authorized past defense date it will be shortened accordingly.
    • Deadlines and Changes
      • CPT will not be authorized past the mid-point of the semester.  For Spring 2017, the last date for students to receive CPT authorization will be March 15, 2017.
      • CPT authorizations are limited to once per semester, please consider your placements carefully.  Changes will not be made once CPT is authorized.  This includes extensions within the same semester. 

      Application Procedure

      Step 1. Obtain an internship/co-op offer letter on official company letter head from an employer which includes all of the following information:

      • Specific start and end dates of the internship/co-op*
      • Number of hours per week
      • Address of the workplace (if your employer address is different than work site, please provide both addresses. No PO Box addresses)
      • Amount of compensation
      • Job description (specific job responsibilities)
      • The name of your supervisor during the internship/co-op
      • The specific term internship or co-op
      • If you are Masters thesis/Ph.D. student with no required course work left: a statement that work is a part of your thesis/dissertation research.

      *Internship dates must be within the semester you are registered for the course associated with your CPT (see Step 2).You can find semester dates for each academic year here.

      Step 2. Register for an academic component (course) that ties the internship/co-op to your curriculum. To determine which academic component you should register for, please view this chart (pdf). Below are descriptions of the different options and required supporting documentation:

      • UNIV099/098 - Internship Seminar offered by the University Career Center (UCC)
        Copy of the UCC Learning Contract
      • ENCO099/098 - Engineering Co-op offered by Engineering Co-op & Career Services
        Supervisory Agreement
      • Internship course offered by department: Some departments offer their own internship seminars (ex: BMGT398T, HLTH785, COMM386)
        Print out/make a copy of the course number and course description for your CPT application.
      • Independent study: A course in which a professor oversees your work experience.
        You will need a letter from the professor explaining:
        • Why the course is essential to your program of study
        • The relationship between the course and the internship/co-op
        • How your work will be evaluated
      • Research credits (799, 898, or 899): If you are a Master's student only taking only credits of 799 or a PhD student that has finished all required course work and/or advanced to candidacy, the internship can only be authorized if necessary for the completion of thesis/dissertation.
        Letter of support from academic advisor is needed. It must contain the following information:
        • The work is absolutely necessary for the completion of the thesis/dissertation
        • The subject of the thesis/dissertation & the relationship to the work
        • Recommended period of employment & number of hours per week

      Winter/Summer Registration: Due to the immediate payment policy in effect for Winter and Summer session courses, students who are registering during the Winter or Summer sessions for any of the above courses except ENCO099/098 should also bring proof that they have been registered in the course for at least 24 hours (please print and bring a copy of your unofficial transcript) OR proof of payment in full for the course (please print a copy of your receipt at the time of registration).

      Step 3. Meet with an ISSS advisor during Walk-in hours or by Appointment to obtain CPT authorization. Prepare one photocopy to submit to the advisor (photocopies will not be returned to you) when you come to ISSS:

      • Internship/co-op offer letter
      • Registration in appropriate course
        • Course documentation required (see Step 2 above)
        • For Winter/Summer registrations only: Proof of payment in full for the course

      Need more information? ISSS offers a workshop for F-1 international students on the process of applying for CPT. Please note that your attendance at this workshop is not required in order to apply for CPT. You may register for the workshop by visiting iTerp and clicking Session Sign Ups > CPT Workshop.