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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

F-1 Visa Employment > F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment used to satisfy the requirements of a required or elective internship, practicum, or fieldwork course. In all cases, the employment must form an integral part of the established curriculum of your program. Note that if the course is required, it may be a credit or non-credit course, depending on your program's academic requirements and procedures. If the course is an elective, it must be taken for a minimum of 1 credit.

You are not limited in the amount of CPT you may utilize prior to completing your degree requirements. The limitation depends on the curricular requirements and options of your degree program. Curricular Practical Training of 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time and requires concurrent enrollment during the academic year to maintain status as a full-time student.  However, Curricular Practical Training which exceeds 20 hours per week is considered full-time CPT. If you engage in one year or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training. There is no limit on part-time CPT, as long as it meets the requirements of being an "integral part of the established curriculum."

In order to qualify for CPT, you must be in valid F-1 status and must have completed at least one academic year (two semesters) of full-time study, including any time spent at another institution immediately prior to arriving at TC. No authorization may be granted until at least one academic year of full-time study has been completed, unless the academic program requires you to engage in internship or fieldwork experience in your first academic year.

The OIS is responsible for assessing applications for Curricular Practical Training. Authorization is granted only for a specific employer, location and period of time. This authorization will require issuance of a new employment authorization page (page 3) of your SEVIS I-20.

To apply for Curricular Practical Training, submit the following documents to the Office of International Services at least five to ten days before you wish to begin employment:

  1. A letter from your prospective employer stating the beginning and ending dates of employment, number of hours per week, location of employment (be sure to include the zip code), and a description of duties.
  2. A completed CPT Request Form, which must be signed by your internship, fieldwork, or practicum course instructor. The CPT Request Form (F1_CPTForm.pdf) may be completed for multiple semesters, although authorization is granted only one semester at a time. 
  3. Register, if necessary, for the appropriate internship, fieldwork, or practicum course for the number of credits approved or required by your department. Note: CPT cannot be granted for an independent study course. It requires registration in an internship, fieldwork, practicum or other course specifically designed for experiential or practical learning and listed in the TC Bulletin as such.

You may begin your Curricular Practical Training only after receiving Page 3 of your I-20 with the endorsement by an OIS advisor. The endorsement will state the employer, location, beginning and ending dates, and whether the CPT is full-time or part-time.

Special Note: CPT and Full-Time Equivalency Points

An internship, fieldwork, or practicum or other work that has been authorized for Curricular Practical Training may be eligible for equivalency points that will count toward full-time status. In order to qualify for equivalency points, you must file and receive approval for a Certificate of Enrollment from the Office of the Registrar. For example, a 10-hour per week internship that is being done for at least 1 credit of internship will be considered equivalent to 3 points out of the 12 points needed to establish full-time status. Speak to an OIS advisor for more information.

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: