Curricular Practical Training is period of work authorization commonly known as a co-op, practicum or internship. The work must be an integral part of a student’s degree program.

Click on the titles below for curricular practical training information.

Application Material and Steps to Follow for CPT

Students must attend a CPT seminar to obtain the necessary information and documents.

A student must submit the following documents listed below as a complete packet in order to obtain permission to engage in CPT.

  1. Employment letter from the employer. The letter should be on letterhead and should clearly state the job title (e.g. intern, trainee), the job description, the location of the job (i.e. exact address in full), the exact starting and ending dates, the number of hours per week, and any salary agreements. (If any detail is missing, CIE will not be able to grant CPT.)
  2. Academic Advisor letter on UT letterhead verifying that the Curricular Practical Training is an integral part of the student’s degree program. Sample letters are available after the CPT seminar via email.
  3. Copies of all I-20s from UT
  4. CPT Student Form
  5. Copy of I-94 (front & back)
  6. Academic history and current class schedule (both available at MyUTK.)

Processing CPT work authorization takes two weeks. Processing cannot begin until CIE has received a student’s complete CPT application. Please PLAN ACCORDINGLY (same-day permission is not possible). REMEMBER: You CANNOT begin employment until you have been granted work permission for CPT on your I-20 by CIE !!

Note: All international students on CPT must maintain the required health insurance coverage.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is period of work authorization commonly known as a co-op, practicum or internship. The work must be an integral part of a student’s degree program.

Students interested in doing a CO-OP or internship, whether paid or unpaid, must attend a session on Curricular Practical Training in order to receive the application packet.

Timing is essential if you want to receive the approval for Practical Training in time to start your job. Remember that you must have approval either from CIE or USCIS before you can begin employment or engage in any work activities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as training that must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” The employment must be directly related to a student’s current major field of study. If the work is not a required or an elective component of a student’s degree program, the student will need to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Determining CPT Eligibility

CPT can only be used during a student’s program of study. A student is eligible if:

  • The student is in legal F-1 status
  • The student must have been lawfully enrolled full-time for one full academic year.
  • Graduate students in programs that require immediate participation in CPT may have the academic year requirement waived.

Students are not limited (in theory) to the amount of CPT they may use.

Note: Students who engage in 12 months or more of full-time CPT are not eligible for any OPT.

Full-time CPT is defined as more than 20 hours per week, while part-time CPT is defined as 20 hours or less per week. Students engaging in part-time CPT must be enrolled full-time (except summer).

In order to apply, students must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as CPT.

Permission to work is granted by CIE. Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved by CIE. Each CPT period is granted based on the official UT academic semester calendar published by the Registrar.

Three Qualifying Categories of CPT

    1. Degree Requirement – The practical experience is required of all students in the degree program and the major field of study. If a particular major or curricular track requires CPT, the student may qualify.


    1. Regular Course Requirement – The work experience is part of the regular requirement for a course in which a student will be receiving credit. The internship or off-campus component of the course requirement must be stated in the UT catalogue. Independent study courses DO NOT normally qualify.


    1. Established Academic Internship – The work experience is part of a placement made by one of UT’s CO-OP offices or is a placement made by an academic department into one of their established internship programs. Note: This internship opportunity must be available to all students in the department/college. It cannot be created for one particular student.


CPT Seminar Registration

The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office of the Center for International Education (CIE) now offers our Curricular Practical Training (CPT) seminar online! To register for the Online Curricular Practical Training (CPT) seminar please click on the following link:

Sign up: CPT Online Registration Form

You will be granted access to the seminar within three (3) business days. To access the seminar, please login to Blackboard and check the “Organizations” tab.