Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization directly related to a student’s major field of study. In order to be eligible for CPT a student must receive course credit for the employment or employment must be a required component of the degree program. CPT is work that is temporary in nature. It may not be used as a bridge to full-time, regular employment.
- You must complete two consecutive long semesters before you are eligible for CPT. The only exceptions are for:
- Graduate students enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in an internship.
- Students who are transferring from another institution mid-way through their program and have been enrolled for two long semesters before enrolling at UT may be eligible for immediate participation in CPT.
- Part-time CPT is classified as 20 hours per week or less. Full-time CPT is more than 20 hours per week. Working part-time on campus in addition to your part-time CPT will be considered full-time CPT if the cumulative total is over 20 hours per week.
- If you accumulate more than 12 months of full-time CPT you become ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). However, it is recommended you do not exceed 330 days of full-time CPT. Accumulating part-time CPT has no effect on OPT eligibility.
- CPT authorization is date-specific and employer-specific. This means that you may work only during the authorization dates and for the employer listed on your CPT I-20.
- You must receive CPT authorization before you begin employment. Working prior to obtaining authorization is a violation of your immigration status.
- Students who qualify as Sponsored Students must first obtain written approval from their program sponsor before beginning any type of employment.
Steps to Apply
- Visit your academic advisor to find out if you can take a course for credit or if employment is a required component of your degree program.
- Once you obtain an employment offer, ask your employer to complete the Employment Verification Form or request a letter from your employer - printed on company letterhead - with the following information:
- The employer/company name
- A specific start date (mm/dd/yyyy). The start date must be a future date from that date it will be approved.
- A specific end date (mm/dd/yyyy).
- A job title
- A brief job description
- A physical work site address where you will conduct your job
- Number of hours to be worked per week
- Letter must be signed by employer
- If you have any questions about documents, employment dates, or if you have any other questions about CPT, schedule an appointment with an international student advisor prior to applying for CPT.
- Once you have your Employment Verification Form or employment letter log into myIO to begin the CPT request process.
- Please allow 5 business days from your submission for approval. We will email you as soon as your approval is ready. If your work is starting in fewer than 5 days, please make an appointment instead of using the online application.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may apply to use CPT once you've been enrolled for two long semesters and are in valid F-1 status. However, if your program requires immediate participation in an internship or you are transferring to UT-Austin at the same degree level, you may be eligible for CPT during your first semester at UT-Austin. Please reach out to us at email@example.com to inquire about your eligibility.
If you cannot receive credit for the work you do, then you are not eligible for CPT. You would need to consider applying for pre-completion Optional Practical Training in order to accept a paid internship opportunity. Schedule an appointment to meet with an international student advisor to discuss this option.
Generally, no. You must be sure that you do not receive any type of compensation - even non-monetary compensation - for the work that you do. For example, you cannot receive free room and board in exchange for employment without CPT authorization. The work must also be a position that is regularly uncompensated. We recommend that you request a letter from the internship provider that confirms that you are not receiving any type of compensation and that the work is a regularly unpaid position. You do not need to show the letter to ISSS, but you should keep it in your file in case there is a question in the future about the nature of your work.
Please review the US Department of Labor Fact Sheet for more information on unpaid internships.
Some transfer students may be eligible for CPT during their first semester at UT-Austin. To determine this, please schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We prefer to have all the information in one, single-page letter. However, if the contract has all of the required information, we will accept it. See "Steps to Apply" above for a list of required information.
Use the university's academic calendar as a resource when choosing your start date:
- If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the spring, then the earliest you may begin working is the day after the university's official graduation date in December and the latest date you may work is the day of the university’s official graduation in May.
- If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the summer, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the spring graduation in May and the latest is the day of the university’s official graduation in August.
- If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the fall and using CPT in the summer, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the university's official graduation date in May and the latest is the day before fall classes begin in August.
- If you are enrolling in the CPT course in the fall and using CPT in the fall, then the earliest you may begin work is the day after the university's official graduation date in August and the latest is the day of the University’s official graduation date in December.
- If you wish to begin your work experience after completing semester final requirements, but before the official graduation date, obtain a letter from your academic or graduate advisor indicating the date that you will complete your semester requirements (last final exam/term paper).
No. You must enroll in a separate CPT course for each semester you engage in CPT.
- If you are authorized to receive credit for a summer internship and a fall internship in the fall semester, you will be expected to enroll in 2 separate CPT courses in the fall semester.
- If you enroll in an internship course as the CPT course, please note the internship course may require a minimum number of weeks and hours per semester; therefore, your internship may need to meet the requirement in each semester.
- If you are a Doctorate student in dissertation with summer and fall CPT authorizations, please reach out to email@example.com to inquire about your course enrollment requirements.
If you cannot receive credit for the work you do, then you are not eligible for CPT. You would need to consider applying for pre-completion Optional Practical Training in order to do any additional internship. Schedule an appointment to meet with an international student advisor to discuss this option.