Curricular Practical Training

Overview & Eligibility

*If you are applying for CPT for the first time and intend to begin your practical training opportunity this summer in 2024, do not submit your CPT request in the ISS Portal until after you have either attended our CPT workshop on March 7 or viewed the recording here on our website after that date.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an F-1 visa benefit that allows students to participate in off campus internships, work, clinical placements, or other experiential learning that is part of their academic programs and directly related to their academic majors. CPT must be authorized for both paid and unpaid experiences. CPT can only be granted when the internship/training is part of the academic curriculum.  

CPT is authorized by OISA and must be approved by our office before the internship begins. Apply at least four weeks in advance of the internship start date. Students may not begin working without CPT authorization in hand. 

Please note the following: 

  • Students must complete one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. 
  • CPT is available to undergraduate students only. 
  • Internships must be credit-bearing and the internship must take place in the same semester as the corresponding credits. 
  • Internships must be directly related to a student’s academic major. 
  • Students may only work within the authorized CPT start and end date. 
  • During the fall and spring semesters, CPT authorization is limited to 20 hours or less per week. 
  • Students must complete a minimum of 40 working hours through the entire internship experience (not 40 hours per week), within the academic term in which they are enrolled in CSPL493.

How to Apply

Applications for CPT can be made through the International Student and Scholar (ISS) Portal. You must secure your internship prior to submitting your application and have attended a CPT Workshop.

Before making this request, please gather the following documents/information:

  • Your Employment Offer Letter
  • CPT Employer Job Description
  • Your CPT Employer’s First and Last Name and email address (Required) and Phone Number (Optional)

Please carefully read the instructions when you are completing your CPT request in the ISS Portal. You will be asked to input information to request four recommendations:

  • Office of Academic Affairs – To confirm the relationship between the student’s internship/employment and the student’s academic major
  • Dean of Students Office – To confirm the student is in good standing with Wesleyan University’s Honor Code and the Code of Non-Academic Conduct
  • Academic Advancement Office – To confirm the student is in good academic standing at Wesleyan University
  • Your CPT Employer

If you start a request in the ISS Portal but are unable to complete it, you may return to this request at a later time. Do not start a new one. To return to an existing request, please go to your ISS Portal User Home Page.

Proof of CPT Enrollment (CSPL493)

Once an OISA staff member has reviewed your CPT request and confirmed your eligibility, we will email the Office of the Registrar to request that you be enrolled in CSPL493. On the day that our office requests that you be enrolled in the course, you will receive an email from OISA explaining your enrollment in CSPL493 will appear in your academic history within two business days. 

Next, you must provide proof of your enrollment through the ISS Portal so that OISA can proceed with authorizing you for CPT. To submit your proof of enrollment, log in to your ISS Portal account, select F-1 Student Requests from the menu on the left side of the page, and click on Proof of CPT Enrollment Request from the menu choices on the next page.

You will be redirected to a page where you can indicate the semester and year that you have been authorized for CPT and upload a screenshot confirming your enrollment for CSPL493. When you have provided the information requested, click the "Update" button at the bottom of the page to submit your Proof of CPT Enrollment Request.

After Approval

Once approved, you will receive an updated I-20 with the CPT authorization. If your internship is paid, you will need to show this authorization to your employer as proof of employment authorization. Paid employment also requires by law that a student apply for a Social Security Number.

Work Authorization FAQs

Here are common questions asked by employers and answers:

Q: Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?

A: Yes

International students on an F-1 visa have work authorization through Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training. If you plan to work off-campus, you will need a work authorization.

Q: Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?

A: Yes (with some exceptions)

International students would usually answer this question with “yes.” F-1 visa holders would need to change to other visa categories to continue to work after their work authorization through their F-1 visa expires.

Students may answer “no” if they are in the process of changing their status from a non-immigrant to an immigrant status. Be prepared to explain to potential employers why you would not need sponsorship in the future if you answer this question with a “no.”