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Curricular Practical Training

CPT is defined as an academically integrated part of an established curriculum. This employment (either paid or unpaid) can be defined as “alternate work/study, an internship, a required cooperative education agreement with the approval of your program – or – any type of cooperative agreement between a sponsoring employer and Clarkson University”.

Note – Due to the fact that USCIS uses a broad definition of employment, any activity for which a student receives a benefit – monetary or otherwise – including unpaid internships or volunteering, will require CPT authorization.

CPT Eligibility and Notes:

  • The training must be related to your field of study and degree level
  • The training must be required by the program or adviser
  • The training must receive credit for the experience and be concurrent with the employment – exceptions will be reviewed on a case by case basis. It is the student’s responsibility to register – pay – and – complete the course according to the established objectives.
    • Note – graduate students who have completed 30/90 credits will be reviewed for CPT eligibility and my need to apply for optional practical training (OPT)
    • Note – graduate students working on thesis or dissertation where the CPT experience will provide data needed for your research project may enroll in research credit that will count as the ‘CPT credit’.  This data cannot simply be ‘related’ and must be an ‘integral’ part of the research for your thesis or dissertation. An additional letter from your research adviser is required that explains how the training is an integral part of the research.
  • You must be in lawful F-1 status and have been a full-time student for a least (1) academic year
  • CPT is employer specific – therefore you must have an offer letter (according to CPT application instructions) before CPT can be approved.
  • Training can be part-time or full-time –
    • Part-time CPT (less than 20 hours/week) – you may only be authorized for part-time training if you are engaged in coursework concurrent with CPT. There is no limit to the length of time you may participate in part-time training – however – authorizations will only be granted on a semester by semester basis.
    • Full-time CPT (more than 20 hours/week) – you may be authorized for full-time training during semester co-ops – during summer break – or – while participating in ‘employment for doctoral dissertation’.
    • NOTE – you will become ineligible for optional practical training (OPT) if you participate in twelve (12) months or more of ‘full-time’ CPT
  • CPT Extensions – must submit a new CPT application with supporting materials for ISSS review
  • Changing employers while on approved CPT is not allowed. You must submit a new CPT application for review and approval.
  • You may begin CPT employment once you have received your ‘CPT I-20’ with ISSS endorsement on page 2 of your updated I-20.
    • NOTE – you must keep all I-20’s issued to you.

CPT Application Procedures: the following materials must be submitted to ISSS for review

  • Meet with your academic adviser to review your training experience and complete the  ‘Academic Adviser’s Recommendation’ form – with any applicable supporting documentation
  • Proof of course enrollment – screenshot of enrollment on PeopleSoft or add/drop form is acceptable
  • Employment letter – for CPT purposes only – that includes;
    • Your name & job title
    • Exact dates of employment
    • Number of hours you will work each week
    • Brief description of duties or copy of the job description
    • Statement indicating – “the employer will be cooperating with the school in achieving the curricular purposes of the employment/training”.