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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

An F-1 student who has been in status for at least nine months and who is in good academic standing is eligible to work off-campus if the job is an integral part of the student’s curriculum. This is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and must be authorized in advance by International Programs (IP).

Authorization for such employment may only be obtained by a student who will receive academic credit for the employment experience. Student must register for a course that carries academic credit, that is listed in the regular bulletin of course offerings or be registered for a CO-OP course.  To be considered for CPT, the work must not only be related to the major field of study but must also be an integral or important part of your curriculum or degree program. Obtaining work experience to get a better job after graduation does not merit CPT authorization. Students in the Intensive English Program (IEP) are not eligible for practical training.


The student must be in valid F-1 status at the time of application and have been in full-time status for one academic year preceding the application. Graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in an internship/practical training may apply at any time.

Required part of the degree program - Proof of academic requirement must be submitted with the CPT application (Example: copy of undergraduate or graduate bulletin page listing the requirement) OR 

Optional part of the degree program - student must first be enrolled in a credit-bearing course prior to requesting CPT authorization. (Example: Internship, Directed Study)


Please complete the CPT application through this website:
For more information about the application, call (205) 652-5561.

Register for the appropriate CPT course.

The student and his/her supervising professor should complete the form on the next page. Attach the employer letter and turn in the complete application to an IP advisor. The IP advisor will review the documents to determine if the criteria have been met.

If CPT is approved, the student will be notified by email.

Important Immigration Regulations

F-1 students must attend school full-time except during the vacation period or if they have been preauthorized by an International Programs advisor for a reduced course load.

CPT employment authorization is tied to the academic calendar and/or the internship requirements: CPT authorization may begin no earlier than the day after the previous semester and must end no later than the day before the next semester begins.

  • Part-time employment is 20 hours per week or less.

  • Full-time employment is 21 hours per week or more; this is only approved in certain situations.

  • Full-time CPT over 12 months will cancel the year of OPT available upon graduation.

Graduate students holding any type of assistantship on campus will be limited to part-time CPT and part-time assistantship for a maximum of 40 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. You must be authorized for CPT by an International Programs advisor before beginning any employment.

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