F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Per F-1 Regulations: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) - Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular Practical Training is defined to be an alternative 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. Students who have received one year or more of full time CPT are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in Curricular Practical Training.
CPT authorization for Duke-sponsored F-1 students is possible only if 1 of the following 2 situations apply:
- An internship is required for every student enrolled in the degree program (foreign and domestic students alike).
- An internship course has been specifically created in the degree program curriculum that establishes clear academic objectives and which conveys academic credit.
A request for authorization for Curricular Practical Training must be made to the Designated School Official (DSO) in the Duke Visa Services Office.
These advisors are assigned to review student applications based on the first initial of each student’s last name and not the student’s academic departments.
If you have questions regarding the application process, please email Carlee.Reiff@duke.edu.
A student may begin Curricular Practical Training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.
Students requesting CPT are not required to file an application with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
If the primary purpose of the employment is to provide the student with work experience which will enhance his/her professional career, then the student must use Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Requirements for Curricular Practical Training
- Students are eligible for CPT if they are in F-1 status and have been studying full-time for at least one academic year. The 1-year full-time enrollment requirement may be waived only if the academic program requires that the CPT begin in the first semester or year.
- The practicum either may be a required or an optional part of the curriculum.
- If the CPT is a requirement for all students following a given curriculum, then it does not have to confer credit.
- If the CPT is a required part of an optional course in the field of study, then the course MUST be taken FOR CREDIT. (Please refer to the FAQ #2 below for more information.)
- CPT can only be approved for the student's major field of study verified in DukeHub.
- The student must have a job offer in writing.
While there is no upper limit set on the amount of Curricular Practical Training used, there is a limit set based on the requirements of your program of study. For instance, if you are required to pursue 1 summer internship which is integral to your program of study and you successfully completed the internship in order to graduate from your degree program, you cannot pursue a second internship because it would not be required or integral to your program of study. If your program of study is designed for you to accumulate up to a year of CPT, please note the following::
- Students who use 12 months or more of full-time (20 or more hours per week) CPT will have no available time for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Students who use fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT still will be eligible for up to 12 months of OPT.
The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Application Process page contains detailed instructions for your CPT application and submission instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, CPT is a benefit of F-1 status. While engaging in CPT, you still are considered to be an F-1 student under the visa sponsorship of Duke University.
No. If the internship is not required and if there is no class which requires all students taking the class to do an internship, you are ineligible for CPT. Your only option is to file for pre-completion OPT.
There is no application fee for CPT.
For CPT, apply at least two weeks before you are scheduled to begin work.
Applications for CPT are denied only when the eligibility or course criteria are not met.
For CPT, you may begin work only after you have obtained work authorization from your Assistant International Student Advisor II in DVS. CPT authorization cannot be back dated, and working prior to obtaining approval is a violation of status. If you work illegally, you will have violated your F-1 status. You will need to schedule an appointment with your Assistant International Student Advisor II to discuss the options available for you to regain your F-1 status.
Under NO conditions should you begin working before obtaining appropriate work authorization. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has very rigid interpretations of what activities constitute employment. Volunteering for a position which normally provides compensation is considered employment and is, therefore, not permitted without appropriate authorization. For more information, please see our Volunteer Activities page.
It depends. There is no upper limit on part-time CPT, but any student who works on full-time CPT for 12 months or longer loses his/her OPT benefits entirely.
Changing employers while on CPT requires submission of a new application to your Assistant International Student Advisor II. It is possible to have multiple employers simultaneously, but you must have CPT authorization for each employer before you may begin working for them.