Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary work authorization for international students who hold an F-1 visa and who have been enrolled full-time in a college-level degree program for at least one academic year.

You can use CPT for an internship or co-op experience that is both related to and a required or important part of your major or field of study.  See the Global Programs website for more information about CPT.

If you have an offer for an internship or co-op and you are eligible for CPT, our office can help with the process of obtaining it. 

Please note:

  • If you are planning to work part-time on campus, you do not need to apply for CPT.  See the Global Programs website for more information about rules and requirements for on-campus jobs. 
  • If you are graduating this semester, you are not eligible for CPT and must seek Optional Practical Training (OPT) instead.

Step 1: Obtain an Offer Letter

First, you need an offer letter from your prospective employer (on letterhead) that meets CPT requirements, including:

  • Job title
  • Name of the company or organization
  • Exact start and end dates of employment
  • Number of hours of work per week
  • Detailed description of the job you will be doing

Step 2: Complete the Employment Survey

Next, complete the Employment Survey to notify us of your upcoming work assignment and to give us important information about your employer and your planned course.

Please note:

  • You may not complete an internship (one semester) in the fall or spring semesters; however, you may complete a summer-only internship by being registered for either ENGR 195 or independent study (IS).
  • You may complete a co-op (at least two semesters)—spanning consecutive summer and fall semesters or spring and summer semesters—by being registered for ENGR 295, 395, or 495.

Step 3: Complete the iStart Application

Finally, complete the iStart application (link provided on the Global Programs website), which is a requirement of the U.S. government.

  • If you plan to be enrolled in ENGR 195, you may name either Kim Fox or your academic adviser on the academic recommendation portion of the application. 
    • Email a copy of your offer letter to whomever you have listed as your adviser.
    • After the listed adviser has completed the recommendation, you will receive an automated email message from the iStart system. 
    • If you have named an adviser other than Kim Fox, please forward the iStart confirmation email to our CPT email account.
  • If you plan to be enrolled in an independent study, you must name the course instructor and provide his or her email address on the academic recommendation portion of the application.
    • Email a copy of your offer letter to your adviser.
    • Send the course number and the instructor’s name to our CPT email account.
  • If you plan to be enrolled in ENGR 295, 395, or 495, you may name either Kim Fox or your academic adviser on the academic recommendation portion of the application.
    • Email a copy of your offer letter both to whomever you have listed as your adviser and to our CPT email account.
    • After the listed adviser has completed the recommendation, you will receive an automated email message from the iStart system. 
    • If you have named an adviser other than Kim Fox, please forward the iStart confirmation email to our CPT email account.
    • We must generate an additional form to support your request to complete a co-op.  If you have listed Kim Fox as your adviser, you do not need to take any further action; this form will be completed automatically and shared with the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) in the University Office of Global Programs.  If you have listed someone else as your adviser, we may request additional information to complete the form. 

Once your adviser has submitted his or her recommendation for your CPT application, you will automatically be notified through the iStart system.

If you are taking ENGR 195, 295, 395, or 495, the course will be added to your schedule within two business days of this notification.   If you are doing an independent study, you will need to arrange for your department or course instructor to add the course to your schedule.

Once you see the course on your schedule for the appropriate semester, submit payment for the course.  Your CPT request will not be finalized until course payment is completed.

You should expect CPT review and approval to take place within 10 days of receipt of your adviser’s submission of the CPT recommendation.  Note that delays may occur during peak times, especially at the end of the spring semester.

Someone from Global Programs will contact you directly to advise you to pick up your new I-20.

 

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032