Curricular Practical Training Law and Legal Definition

The DSO approves Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for students. No employment authorization from USCIS is needed for this. An F– 1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is defined to be 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.

The US Department of Homeland Security regulations state that CPT should be "an integral part of an established curriculum." Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program, before completion of that program. The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. An exception is available for graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment. It is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program.