Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows F-1 students to engage in employment as long as it is an integral part of their curriculum.

Prerequisites for CPT

  • Curricular practical training (CPT) must be an integral part of an in-progress curriculum.
    • Curricular practical training is defined as alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required practicum. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10)
  • Students must receive course credit throughout the CPT period.
  • CPT must fulfill a specific academic objective. An employment opportunity sought solely because it is beneficial, relevant, or excellent professional/personal experience does NOT qualify for CPT.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Student must have been lawfully enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program for one full academic year (3 quarters or 2 semesters) before applying for CPT. (There is an exception for graduate students whose programs require immediate CPT.)
  • You must have an offer of employment solely related to your field of study.
  • CPT can be considered for non-required internship electives that fulfill a specific academic objective within your degree program.
    • Maximum graduate-level CPT allowances for all non-Steinbright Career Development Center-designated experiential education programs (All PhD CPT requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.):
      • Semesters – Maximum of 2 terms.; 1 full-time CPT (1 semester/term) and 1 part-time CPT (1 semester/term)
      • Quarters – Maximum of 3 terms; 1 full-time CPT (1 quarter/term) and 2 part-time CPT (2 quarters/2 terms)
  • When enrolled in full-time on-campus classes, only part-time CPT is permitted.
  • CPT must not cause a delay in the completion of studies.
  • CPT should not be on the last term of study. (There is an exception for transfers from another U.S. institution.)

General Exceptions

Exceptions can be considered under the following circumstances and must receive explicit ISSS approval:

  • Experiential education programs through the Steinbright Career Development Center (undergraduate and graduate) for transfer students.
  • Programs not designated by the Steinbright Career Development Center (e.g., internships, practicums, pro bono experiences, and clinical rotations) are to follow designated academic curricula in the context of 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10).

ISSS holds the sole authority to approve or deny the above-stated exceptions.


  • Students participating in the cooperative education program must first meet with their Steinbright Career Development Center Co-op Advisor to initiate the CPT process.
  • Students who are not participating in the cooperative education program must meet with their academic advisor to confirm that the proposed CPT is integral to their academic program.
    • PhD students require secondary approval from the Graduate College.
  • Once the student has received confirmation, they will submit their CPT paperwork to ISSS for final review and will be notified of subsequent approval or denial.

Duration of CPT

  • CPT start and end dates will be driven by official term start and end dates per the Drexel academic calendar. Students cannot engage in CPT-related employment activities before the official CPT start date.
  • Extensions beyond the last day of the term (i.e. during break week) can be considered by ISSS on a case-by-case basis and cannot roll over into the new term.
  • Term-by-term authorization is necessary for all non-Steinbright Career Development Center-designated experiential education programs. On the other hand, Steinbright Career Development Center-designated co-ops, are granted according to the established co-op cycle.
  • Use of full-time CPT for one year (364 days) or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training. Use of part-time CPT or co-op abroad does not affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training.

Co-op Abroad (does not require CPT)

  • Must maintain full-time enrollment each term.
  • I-20/SEVIS will remain active.
  • No ISSS authorization/CPT I-20 is required.
  • Obtain travel signature on I-20 before departure.


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