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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) lets eligible F-1 students get practical work experience through jobs, internships or co-ops as part of their program of study.

Eligibility for CPT

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Maintain valid F-1 status.
  • Complete one academic year as a full-time student.
  • Get work that directly relates to a course that you are currently in your major. A course in your minor is not eligible. The work must be:
    • An internship or practicum that is required for all students in your program, or
    • Work experience that is strongly recommended in a particular course, or
    • Work that is required for dissertation/thesis completion
  • Get approval from your academic advisor and OISS. OISS will only authorize CPT for the semester you take the course.

You can use a spring course for CPT during the summer if you did not use that course for CPT in the spring.

OISS must authorize CPT before your first day of work during every term (including summer) and every time you change employers. Failure to get authorization before working on CPT will result in termination of your SEVIS record.

CPT can be paid or unpaid, as long as the unpaid CPT is not a job or position for which American citizens typically would earn income.

Part-time CPT is up to 20 hours per week. Full-time CPT is more than 20 hours a week. Part-time CPT is unlimited, but if you are on full-time CPT for 12 months or more, you will not be able to get OPT (Optional Practical Training) after graduation.

You can get CPT full-time during the academic year if your program requires it or if it is your last semester at Lehigh and you need less than a full course load to graduate.

Applying for CPT

  1. Get a job offer letter on official letterhead that includes the employer name, job title, job responsibilities, dates of employment, and a number of hours per week. 
  2. Complete the CPT Request Form in iHome and get approval from your academic advisor.
  3. Meet with an OISS advisor, who will issue a new I-20 that you must present to your employer as proof that you can work.