International Student Services

Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT | CPT Eligibility | Details for CPT | How to Apply

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training is an opportunity for students on F-1 visas to learn practical skills related to their majors while studying at the University of Washington. CPT serves as a work authorization as students engage in different types of activities related to their major. Common forms of CPT are listed below:

  • Employment directly connected to your major
  • A paid or unpaid internship
  • A Cooperative (co-op) education experience
  • Participation in a Practicum

CPT Eligibility

Students are eligible for CPT when they meet the following requirements:

  • Have active F-1 status.
    • CPT cannot begin before the start date of an I-20 document.
  • Have completed one year (three academic quarters) of full-time academic study in the U.S.
  • Have declared a major at University of Washington.
  • Are making normal academic progress.
  • Have obtained a job/internship offer letter by the time you request CPT
  • Are registered for CPT credits for the internship/job offer
    • Note: Some programs may have required internships/practicums that may not require credits. You will note this exception in your CPT application.

Details for CPT

  • Hours
    • Part-time CPT is 20 hours per week or less.
    • Full-time CPT is over 20 hours a week.
  • Changes to CPT
    • Any changes to your CPT (i.e. shortening CPT, canceling CPT, or extending OPT) require a new application that must be approved by your academic department.
  • Course Registration
    • As CPT is curricular, you will need to be registered for your CPT courses to obtain CPT authorization from ISS.
    • Each CPT authorization requires an individual CPT credit.
    • Multiple concurrent CPTs require multiple CPT credits.
  • Deferring CPT Credit 
    • Students doing CPT in summer (annual vacation quarter) may defer credit to autumn quarter (with approval from the student’s academic department).
    • ISS will not approve CPT without autumn quarter enrollment.
  • Timing 
    • No CPT authorization can extend into two quarters.
      • Extending CPT into a new quarter requires a new CPT application and new credits.
    • CPT can continue into breaks, if authorized.

How to Apply

Students must plan ahead to engage in CPT activities. No student should begin an internship, practicum, or co-op without having an I-20 from ISS authorizing their CPT. Any change to CPT or additional request requires a new CPT application. 

Steps for obtaining CPT:

  • Check the eligibility requirements.
  • Talk to your department advisor to learn about their requirements for CPT.
  • Find a job/internship offer.
  • Enroll in the CPT course you discussed with your department advisor.
  • Submit the CPT application (you should receive a confirmation email upon successful submission).
    • Your application is sent to your academic department for their approval before it is considered a “complete” application.
  • Receive your new I-20 and approval notice from ISS. (Note: This may take several weeks. Please apply early!)
    • Check your I-20 and read your email from ISS.
    • Follow up with any questions by emailing uwiss@uw.edu.
  • Apply for a social security number (if needed) with your CPT I-20.
  • Begin your CPT experience!

Request CPT Authorization