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Internships and Practical Training

There are many opportunities to add practical experience to your studies at the University of Tennessee. Your academic department can advise you on opportunities that apply to your major. In addition, the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration is an excellent resource for opportunities. We also recommend that students create a free Interstride account. Interstride has many helpful resources for students on an F (student) visa.

How can I participate?

Students on an F-1 visa are eligible to participate in many different types of internships, experiential learning programs, practicums, and co-ops. However, you must have proper authorization before you start. Immigration regulations require that off-campus internships and other programs be authorized through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). In order to be eligible for CPT, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. maintaining lawful F-1 status;
  2. be in a degree-seeking program;
  3. enrolled full-time as an F-1 student for one academic year;
  4. be in good academic standing.

For the practical training opportunity to be eligible for approval, you must also meet with your academic or faculty advisor and determine if the opportunity meets the necessary academic criteria. The required academic academic criteria are based around three general categories.

The opportunity is required for program completion. 

This means that the CPT opportunity is part of a required practicum, internship, or work experience hours dictated by the programs academic catalog. Examples of this include required field placements for Social Work or the required internships for Supply Chain Management.

The opportunity is required for the completion of a thesis or dissertation. 

This means that the CPT opportunity directly contributes to the completion of the thesis or dissertation project.

The opportunity is integral to the completion of the program. 

This means that the CPT opportunity provides direct experiential learning and training towards the degree being awarded. In addition, the opportunity must be be highly recommended by the faculty of the program and be an opportunity that would be recommended to the majority of students completing the program.

What kind of opportunities can I participate in?

CPT opportunities can be a variety of experiences. Common opportunities include internships, practicums, field experience, and co-op programs. These opportunities can be paid or unpaid. In addition, the opportunity can be either full or part-time as defined below:

Full-Time CPT

This is a training opportunity that is for more than 20 hours a week. If you complete one total year (365 days) of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Part-Time CPT 

This is a training opportunity that is for 20 hours or less per week.

How do I apply?

We have created several guides to take you through the CPT application process.

How to Apply for CPT (for students)

Approving CPT for F-1 Students (for faculty and academic advisors) 

Understanding CPT Compliance (for employers)