Curricular Practical Training (F-1)



This information is designed for students in F-1 status. It will provide you with information on a type of employment opportunity, which is known as "curricular practical training." Please also attend a Practical Training workshop.

Curricular Practical Training Definition

"Curricular Practical Training" (CPT) is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum. At Stanford, there are two scenarios which qualify students for CPT:

  1. The employment must be a requirement of the Degree program. In this case, you may or may not receive academic credit. The CPT endorsement must be issued by the I-Center during the same quarter as the internship period.
  2. In cases where the practical internship is not a requirement, the department must offer a CPT course for which the student receives academic credit. The CPT course must be offered during the same quarter as the internship period. Failure to enroll in and complete the class will result in immediate violation of your legal status. It is the student's responsibility to fulfill all requirements of CPT.

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Student Eligibility Conditions

  1. The student must be maintaining valid F-1 D/S status.
  2. The student must have been enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year. Graduate students are exempt from this requirement if their Degree program requires immediate participation in CPT.
  3. The employment must clearly be related to the student's field of study. Undergraduate students are not eligible for CPT until they have declared a major.
  4. Part-time employment may not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. Full-time employment (more than 20 hours a week) during official school breaks is permitted. Students need separate endorsements for part-time and full-time employment even if the employment is in the same quarter.
  5. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more of full- time CPT, you will not be eligible for any type of optional (including post-completion) practical training.
  6. Students who work on-campus 20 hours per week or who have an RA/TAship are not eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while school is in session. During Summer, students who hold RA/TAships can work a total of 40 hours per week, including CPT. Students who have a summer RA/TA-ship and wish to apply for summer CPT should also discuss their plans with their department.
  7. Students who have already completed all course/unit requirements for their degree are not eligible for CPT except when employment is required to complete the thesis.
    • CPT can either be part-time or full-time based upon approval of the academic advisor and authorization by the I-Center.
  8. Students may not do full-time CPT in their final quarter (including summer). Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) students may qualify to do full-time CPT only if the work is required to complete the PhD/Engineer thesis.
  9. Students may not enroll in the same CPT class more than once! Students may also NOT enroll in more than one CPT class per quarter (in order to receive more than one unit of credit). Repeatability Rules found in the Stanford Bulletin state that most courses are set up as Non-Repeatable for credit courses, so the repeat rules apply. The few courses for credit that can be repeated by a student for credit are specifically stated in the course description. Repeatability Rules in the Stanford Bulletin may be found in:
  10. Students who have applied for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training may not apply for CPT for the same period requested on their Pre-OPT application. USCIS could interpret this sort of "double processing" as facilitating employment which is an inappropriate and possibly illegal authorization of practical training.
  11. Students must obtain a separate endorsement for each CPT employer.

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Application and Authorization Procedures

  1. Enroll in CPT course
  2. Submit the on-line application form in Axess. You can submit on-line application form for CPT as early as Axess allows you to enroll in CPT course for the quarter you are doing an internship but no later than 5 days before your internship start date.

Instructions for On-line CPT application (PDF)

You will be notified by email when your new I-20 is ready for pick-up.

Please Note: If your department does not offer a specific practicum course, or does not offer the course during the quarter for which you are seeking employment authorization, then you will not qualify for CPT, but you might qualify for Optional Practical Training.

Students applying for CPT must also meet any additional requirements set by departments concerning the minimum number of units they are required to take during the quarter they are enrolled in the CPT course.

CPT is authorized by the I-Center. You can submit your application as soon as you have ENROLLED in the CPT course, but no later than 10 working days prior to the start date of employment. A new I-20 authorizing the requested employment period will be issued.

Making Changes to Your CPT Employment Authorization Dates

If you already have a CPT endorsed I-20, and need to change the authorized dates, please ensure that the request meets the following criteria:

* The employer has not changed.
* You are still enrolled in the CPT based course during the period of your employment.
* You have notified your advisor of the change.
* The change requested is only for dates in the future.
* The requested end date does not extend into the next quarter.

There are two ways to request a change of CPT Employment Authorization Dates.

  • If your current CPT dates have expired,you will need to submit a new request through AXESS.
  • If your current CPT dates have not expired, you will need to submit your request here:

Employment dates for CPT for 2015-2016

For CPT during Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters, when students are required to be enrolled full-time and can only work part-time under CPT, the proposed start and end dates of CPT must closely follow the academic calendar.

The allowable CPT employment dates for the academic year are:

  • Autumn - start no earlier than 08/16/15, end no later than 01/03/16
  • Winter - start no earlier than 12/12/15, end no later than 03/27/16
  • Spring - start no earlier than 03/ 19/16, end no later than 06/ 19/16
  • Summer - start no earlier than 06/09/16, end no later than 09/25/16

No exceptions can be made.

Please attend one of the I-Center's Practical Training workshops.

If you have already attended a practical training workshop and still have questions you may want to review the PPT presentation again or send an email to

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