Curricular Practical Training
What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
CPT is a temporary work authorization granted by an International Student Advisor in the Cranwell International Center that allows F-1 students to pursue practical training directly related to their field of study while they are still earning their degree.
CPT is defined as an alternative work/study, internship experience, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with Virginia Tech. The following opportunities require CPT authorization, regardless if they are paid or unpaid:
- Cooperative (co-op) education experiences
- Practicum participation
- Other training and/or employment opportunities as required by your program of study
Please note that F-1 students are eligible to work on-campus (i.e. dining, bookstore, administrative offices, library, teaching or research assistant, etc.) without requiring CPT authorization from Cranwell International Center. If you have any questions about your opportunity and are unsure if it requires CPT authorization, please feel free to reach out to your International Student Advisor for clarification.
Participation in CPT requires that the training you participate in be integral to your established curriculum and that it must be directly related to the your major area of study. This requirement is fulfilled by being enrolled in an internship, cooperative (co-op) education program, practicum, independent study, or similar course during the semester you plan to work. You can fulfill this requirement by being enrolled in the appropriate course, as follows:
- OPTION 1: You must be enrolled in a departmental course if the training is a required part of your academic program and/or part of your plan of study. If you will participate in a departmental course and have questions about requirements and/or enrollment, please reach out to your Academic Advisor directly.
- OPTION 2: You must be enrolled in a course through the Cooperative Education and Internship Program (CEIP), which is facilitated by the Career and Professional Development Office.
- If you plan to work 4-31 hours per week, you will be enrolled in CEIP 3084.
- If you plan to work 32 hours or more per week, you will be enrolled in CEIP 4084.
- OPTION 1: You must be enrolled in a departmental course if the training is a required part of your academic program and part of your plan of study. If you will participate in a departmental course and have questions about requirements and/or enrollment, please reach out to your Academic Advisor directly.
- OPTION 2: You must be enrolled in a course through the Graduate Cooperative Education Program:
- If you are currently pursuing your Master's, you will be enrolled in GRAD 5944.
- If you are currently pursuing your PhD, you will be enrolled in GRAD 7944.
To be eligible to apply, students must:
- Be enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year (two full semesters) before employment is set to begin - if you are a transfer student, time enrolled at a previous university counts towards this requirement;
- Meet the minimum GPA requirements:
- Undergraduate students: 2.0 or higher
- Graduate students: 3.0 or higher
- Have no registration holds;
- Have an employment offer letter;
- Confirm enrollment (or the intention to be enrolled) in the applicable co-op course:
- Undergraduate students need to confirm enrollment in CEIP 3084, CEIP 4084, or the required co-op course through their academic department.
- Graduate students need to be confirm enrollment in GRAD 5944 (Master's), GRAD 7944 (PhD), or the required co-op course through their academic department.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Graduate students are not eligible to participate in CPT during their final semester.
Students may participate in CPT during the fall, spring, or summer semester. The authorization is issued on a semester-by-semester basis, so a new request must be submitted for each semester. The allowable employment dates for upcoming semesters are as follows:
- Spring 2021: December 19, 2020 - May 23, 2021
- Summer 2021: May 16, 2021 - August 22, 2021
- Fall 2021: August 22, 2021 - January 17, 2022
IMPORTANT NOTE: Graduate students with an assistantship must seek approval from their academic department in order to participate in CPT that starts after their contract start date or before their contract end date.
When participating in CPT, students will need to continue to maintain their full-time enrollment, as follows:
Participation in part-time CPT during spring/fall will require full-time enrollment in at least 12 credit hours in order to maintain F-1 status. All other CPT participation (i.e., full-time CPT during spring/fall OR any CPT during summer) will not require enrollment in any addtional credit hours in order to maintain F-1 status.
Graduate students may only participate in full-time CPT and are not permitted to be enrolled in other courses simultaneously unless they have been provided an exeption; participation in CPT is considered to be maintaining F-1 status. Please reach out to your International Student Advisor if you have questions regarding this.
- Obtain an employment offer letter with the following information:
- Employer's name
- Employer's address
- Employment start date
- Employment end date
- Employer's contact information (email address and/or phone number)
- Number of hours that will be worked per week (undergraduates only)
- Brief job description
- Employer's name
- Be enrolled (or prepare to be enrolled) in the applicable course that fulfills the academic requirement.
- If you plan to be enrolled in a course through your academic department, you will need to reach out to your Academic Advisor for more information on this process. If you are applying for CPT authorization before the add/drop date, your Academic Advisor can confirm your intent to be enrolled in the appropriate course when they complete their portion of the "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request" e-form submitted in Step 3.
- If you will do not plan to be enrolled in a course through your academic department:
- Undergraduate students will need to be enrolled in the Cooperative Education and Internship Program; enrollment is completed by the Career and Professional Development department.
- Graduate students will need to plan to be enrolled in the Graduate Cooperative Education Program; please note that you will not be enrolled in the applicable course until after your CPT authorization is approved.
- Submit the "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request" e-form through the IntlHokies Portal.
- Wait for final confirmation from Cranwell International Center that your CPT authorization has been approved and your updated Form I-20 has been issued. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do not begin working until you have been notified by Cranwell International Center or your SEVIS record could be at risk for termination.
- Accepting employment: While a student may accept an employment offer before they receive CPT authorization, they may not begin working until they receive authorization. Students who work without authorization are considered to be in violation of their status and their SEVIS record can be terminated.
- On-Campus Work: During full-time CPT, students are not eligible to work on-campus. During part-time CPT, students can continue to work on-campus but may not work more than 20 hours per week with both jobs combined.
- Student Medical Insurance: Students are required to maintain their student medical insurance, even if they are participating in full-time CPT off-campus.
- OPT Eligibility: Students who accumulate 12 months (365 days) or more of full-time CPT authorization will lose their eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Less than 12 months of full-time CPT and any amount of part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.
- Social Security and Other Taxes: In general, F-1 students are subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes. Students must file a tax return each year that they earn an income, which will determine if any of the withheld taxes can be refunded to you. It is the responsibility of the student to file federal and state taxes each year, even if there is no employment. You can read more about this on our Tax Information website.
Phone: +1 (540) 231-6527
Fax: +1 (540) 231-3808
Cranwell Internationa Center
Harper Hall (0509)
240 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Monday through Friday,
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.