Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Students may apply for and participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during the academic year. CPT allows you to work in training programs that are an “integral part of an established curriculum.” Examples of CPT are internships or practicums that are clearly identified and described in the course catalog or that are included on the Graduate Study Plan. To qualify as CPT, the training program must either award academic credit or be required by your degree program.  You must be enrolled in at least 3 UAF credits to receive CPT.  If used for graduate research having a direct impact on the thesis or project, credits may be thesis or research.

If the student’s training program fits this description, the International Student Advisor may authorize part- or full-time training. If you are authorized for part-time CPT during the academic year, you must still enroll in full-time study. Please note: Participation in CPT for 12 months or longer, makes students ineligible for OPT after graduation.

Regulatory requirements:

  • Student has been enrolled in the program for at least one academic year;
  • Practical training must be an integral part of the degree program;
  • Student may begin CPT only after receiving his or her SEVIS I-20 with the CPT endorsement.
  • Students who receive one year or more of full-time curricular practical training (CPT) are not eligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT);

 Application Procedure:

  1. Employer letter of offer. Student receives an intern (job) offer from an employer. The letter from the employer must describe the specific position, dates of employment (from/to), if the position is half-time (20 hours per week or less) or full time (40 hours per week), and the location of the position (for example, Anchorage, Fairbanks). The position description should be brief, but complete enough for the faculty 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 faculty advisor/committee chair to determine if the position meets the requirements of the degree program. NOTE: The purpose of CPT is not to provide work experience to assist the student in gaining employment after completion of the program. This is not an acceptable reason for immigration and may prevent approval of the request. The letter of recommendation (see sample letter for graduate students and for undergraduate students) from the faculty advisor to UAF International Programs & Initiatives must include:
    1. Student’s name, degree program, length of time in program and that the student is in good standing in the department.
    2. Description of the internship or practicum, identify how the experience fits into the context of the program of study and if the training is optional or required. If optional, the course number and number of credits to be awarded must be included (research credits or independent study).
    3. Name and location of the employer.
    4. Employment start and end date.
    5. Number of hours to be worked per week (full- or part-time employment).
  3. International Student Advisor meeting. The ISA will review the offer and recommendation. If there are questions regarding the appropriateness of the request fulfilling the “integral part of the established curriculum,” the ISA will discuss this with the academic advisor. On approval, the ISA will process a SEVIS Form I-20 with the CPT endorsement. The student will be provided with a complete copy of the application file.