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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 Off-Campus Employment: Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows F-1 students to gain experience in their field of study prior to graduation.  Most F-1 students who have been studying full-time for at least one full academic year are eligible for CPT.

Requirements for Employment
In order to qualify for CPT, the employment must comply with at least one of the following conditions:

  • It must fulfill an optional or required internship in the academic program, OR
  • It must fulfill the requirements for a course or independent study in the academic program, OR
  • If working on a thesis or final project, the work must contribute “materially and substantially” to that project.

Some examples of acceptable Curricular Training employment include:

  • A summer internship at the Beloit Daily News;
  • Work with a software company where the results are used to complete a project for a specific computer science course;
  • Research at a petro-chemical company with the intent of using the data collected as the basis for a thesis project.

Note: You cannot qualify for CPT unless you have completed one full academic year as a full-time student.

How to Apply for CPT

  • Meet with your academic advisor.  Explain to the advisor that international students must obtain authorization to take part in an off-campus internship, in compliance with immigration regulations.  To do so, you must register for an internship credit course with The Liberal Arts in Practice Center and your academic advisor must indicate in writing (letter or email message) how the internship experience will contribute to your academic curriculum and field of study providing specific examples of the knowledge you will gain or concepts that will be used.  Alternatively, you must be registered for an academic course requiring an internship.  The advisor’s endorsement may be emailed to or printed on letterhead, signed, and submitted to: Office of International Education. 

Example Advisor Endorsement/s:

Gregor will complete an online marketing campaign for a local computer software company over the Christmas break, which will allow him to gain combined experience in his fields of study:  Computer Science and Marketing.    

Kamal will complete his internship working as a Junior Assistant to the Congressman Mr. Ed, who is on the U.S. Foreign Affairs Famine Relief Committee.  Kamal’s major is International Relations with an emphasis on U.S. foreign policy and famine relief work.

Jane declared Bilingual Education and Spanish as a double major 3 years ago and has been interning at the same school since then.  This summer she will work as a Teacher’s Assistant in the same school in downtown Chicago, which will allow her to gain further field experience in the classroom during the day as well as  organize a parents’ ESL night course, and an after school tutorial for all students grades K-6.

  • Once offered a job, obtain written confirmation from the prospective employer.  The job offer letter must contain the specific start and end dates, job duties, and location of employment (street, city, state, and zip).
  • Bring the I-20, passport, job letter and advisor endorsement  to OIE at least two weeks prior to starting work for review and processing.
  • Complete the Internship Registration Form, available at LAPC.  (Please note the $350 fee for credit during summer.)

Authorization for CPT is noted directly on page 3 of the I-20 form and takes one week to process at OIE.

Please NOTE: F-1 students can use an unlimited amount of part-time CPT and still be eligible to apply for 12 months of OPT (Optional Practical Training) following completion of studies.  However, if a student uses more than 12 months of full-time (over 20 hours/week) CPT accumulated during the course of their time at Beloit, s/he will no longer be eligible for OPT.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Social Security (FICA) should not be withheld from the wages of an F-1 student on practical training if the student is classified as a non-resident for tax purposes.  Earnings are, however, still subject to federal, state, and local taxes.


Beloit College – Office of International Education
717 Chapin Street
Phone: (608) 363-2659, E-mail: