Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Students may apply for and participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) that allows them to work in training programs that are an "integral part of an established curriculum." The purpose of CPT is not to provide work experience to assist the student in gaining practical experience or employment after completion of the program. These are not acceptable reasons for immigration and may prevent approval of the request. Instead, the emphasis of CPT is on the academics and student's curriculum. Examples of CPT are internships or practicums that are clearly identified and described in the course catalog and included on a graduate student's Graduate Study Plan (GSP).

Regulatory requirements

  • Student has been enrolled in the academic program for at least one academic year;
  • Practical training must be an integral part of the student's degree program;
  • Student may begin CPT only after receiving his or her I-20 with the CPT endorsement;
  • Student must stop working on or before the CPT authorization end date on the I-20;
  • Student is allowed to work only for the employer stated on the I-20;
  • Students who receive one year or more of full-time CPT are not eligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Academic Credit Requirements

To qualify as CPT, the training program must be required by the student's degree program. If not required, students are able to still able to apply, if the training is an integral part of the student's curriculum. In both cases, academic credit towards the student's degree must be awarded to all students on CPT. The student must be enrolled in at least 3 UAF credits during the semester in which CPT is authorized. If CPT has a direct impact on the graduate student's thesis or project, credits may be thesis or research.

Application Procedure

If the regulatory and academic credit requirements are met, ISSS may authorize part- or full-time CPT. If the student is authorized for part-time CPT during the academic year, the student must still enroll in full-time study.

          1. Employer letter of offer:

Student receives an intern offer from an employer. The letter from the employer must describe the specific position, dates of employment, if the position is half-time or full time, and the location of the position. The position description should be brief, but complete enough for the student's academic advisor to determine if the position is an “integral part of an established curriculum” and is appropriate to the degree program.

          2. Academic advisor/Chair of Graduate Committee letter of recommendation:

The student must meet with his or her academic advisor/committee chair to determine if the position and training meets the requirements of the degree program. The letter of recommendation from the academic advisor to ISSS must include:

  • Student's name, degree program, length of time in program and that the student is in good standing in the department.
  • Description of the internship or practicum identifying how the experience fits into the context of the program of study and if the training is optional or required.
  • The course number and number of credits to be awarded must be included.
  • Name and location of the employer.
  • Employment start and end date.
  • Number of hours to be worked per week (full- or part-time employment).

Please see sample letters for graduate students and for undergraduate students.

          3. Graduate Study Plan (Graduate Students Only):

Graduate students must submit a copy of their Graduate Study Plan that is signed, submitted to the UAF Graduate School, and includes credits for CPT.

          4. Review of CPT Request:

ISSS will review the CPT request. If there are questions regarding the appropriateness of the request fulfilling the "integral part of the established curriculum," ISSS will discuss this with the student's academic advisor. On approval, ISSS will process an I-20 with the CPT endorsement.


Extending CPT

If an approved CPT needs to be extended a new CPT request with all required supporting documents must be submitted to ISSS at least two weeks before the end of the CPT. See Application procedure above.