F-1 Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is one option for off campus employment authorization; it requires that the student is still enrolled full time in coursework and that the employment fulfills degree requirements as part of "an integral part of an established curriculum."

This section includes information about Curricular Practical Training, including: 

  • Eligibility requirements for CPT
  • CPT Application Process
  • CPT Timelines
  • Important Notes about CPT (related to major, full or part time, limits on CPT)

International students in F-1 status must be authorized for all off campus employment prior to the employment start date, particularly if it is a paid opportunity. Working off campus without prior authorization has significant consequences on a student's SEVIS record and their ability to continue their program at Notre Dame. Please consult ISSA regarding any off campus opportunities prior to participating, including Notre Dame sponsored opportunities, like the Silicon Valley Program or dissertation research, to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.CPT Quick Links

CPT Video   CPT Application Process   ISSAlink CPT Application

ALL students interested in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) MUST EITHER:
  • attend an information session led by an ISSA Advisor; OR.
  • view the CPT video before completing the CPT Application at ISSAlink.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for employment authorization for Curricular Practical Training, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • Employment must be an integral part of the student's course of study through program requirements or course requirements (defined below).
  • Employment must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
  • Student must enroll in a corresponding credited course during the semester in which the employment for CPT is authorized (some exceptions exist for summer internships).
  • Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in active F-1 status for at least one academic year, with few exceptions
  • Student must be maintaining lawful F-1 status, including maintaining a full course of study during CPT authorization period
  • The student must have a written offer of employment prior to application, as CPT is employer and position specific; this offer must include specific information, as defined below.

Determining "integral part of an established curriculum"

CPT is defined by US immigration regulations as employment that is an “integral part of an established curriculum." An employment experience is an integral part of a student’s course of study if it is required of ALL students in that program or if it is required for a particular course within the program of study.

PLEASE NOTE: CPT authorization is not guaranteed. Not every Notre Dame college or program has a program or course requirement that allows for CPT authorization, so students must speak with their DUS/DGS or academic, thesis, or dissertation advisor to determine opportunities within their respective program.

If the proposed employment is required for a particular course within the student's program of study, the following conditions must apply:

  • The course credits must count toward graduation.
  • The course must appear on the student’s transcript.
  • The course must be listed in the school’s course catalog with the assigned number of credits.
  • There should be an available description of the course that clearly defines the course objectives.

CPT Application Process
Review the CPT website and application process.

Obtain documentation confirming employment.

This could be an offer letter, but it should be on company letterhead and must include the following information: 

  • Position Title
  • Position description (several sentences or bullet points detailing the responsibilities and duties of your role)
  • Employment start date and end date
  • Name and complete address of the employer
Submit the CPT Application form in ISSAlink.  

Ensure your academic advisor completes and submits the CPT Advisor Recommendation form.

Once you submit the CPT application, your academic advisor will receive a link to a recommendation eform

Register for the qualifying academic course.
ISSA processes the CPT application request and issues new Form I-20 with CPT Authorization (endorsement on page 2 of Form I-20)
Present Form I-20 with CPT Authorization to employer

It is the student's responsibility to update ISSA with any changes to employment, including employer, dates of employment, changes of full-time or part-time status, or position title. 


We recommend that student's submit the CPT Application form at least four weeks prior to the proposed start date. Current ISSA processing time for ISSAlink forms is 8 business days from receipt of advisor's recommendation.

ISSA cannot authorize CPT until the student is enrolled in the qualifying academic course.

The student is not authorized to begin working until they have their new I-20 with CPT authorization and the authorization start date listed on the Form I-20 has been reached. Any participation in employment outside of the CPT authorization dates listed on the I-20 is a violation of the F-1 status.

ISSA cannot retroactively authorize students for CPT. All employment start dates must be after the date authorization is requested.

Important Notes about CPT

Category Information
Related to major All employment authorized for CPT must be related to the student's major on their Form I-20
Part-time CPT Defined as 20 hours or less per week and can be authorized during any term; does not impact OPT eligibility
Full-time CPT Defined as more than 20 hours per week and can only be authorized during academic year if required for completion of academic program (e.g. Clinical Psychology internships); authorization for 12 months or more impacts OPT eligiblity
CPT Limit The regulations do not define an aggregate limit on CPT, but students who are authorized for more than 12 months of full-time CPT are not eligible to apply for post-completion OPT. 
Employer & Position specific A new CPT authorization is required if the student changes employers, positions with the same employer, or full-time/part-time designation, which will require an updated letter confirming employment details
Coursework completed CPT cannot be authorized once the student has completed all required coursework; exceptions may apply for graduate students who require CPT to complete thesis or dissertation research. Students who are in their final semester cannot request authorization past the last day of classes.
Full-time enrollment Students must continue to enroll in a full course of study during the academic year while authorized for CPT.
Approval from non-ISSA source A letter, signature, or verbal approval from another campus office—such as the Center for Career Development or a program advisor—DOES NOT constitute employment authorization for immigration purposes.

PLEASE NOTE: Optional Practical Training (OPT) may offer an alternative to CPT for students who are interested in pursuing off campus employment opportunities. This includes paid internship or work experience in the student’s field of study for which no course credit is available or that will take place after the completion of all required coursework.

Again, please contact ISSA regarding off campus internships and employment opportunities prior to beginning participation. We want you to access the many opportunities your Notre Dame degree provides and ensure that you maintain your compliance with F-1 immigration regulations.