Curricular Practical Training

Overview & Eligibility

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 CSPL 493.

We encourage you to watch this recording of the Spring 2022 CPT Workshop (PASSCODE: +%69=7!Q) for an introduction to this F-1 off-campus employment authorization.

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)

Log in to your ISS Portal account by clicking on LOGIN at the top right corner of the page. Use your Wesleyan credentials to log in.

Once logged in, click on the gray house icon located at the left side of the black navigation bar. Select Site Home from the drop-down menu. You will be redirected to the ISS Portal main page.

Select F-1 Student Requests from the menu on the left side of the page, then click on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request from the menu choices on the next page. You will then be asked to select the term that you are making the request for.

Make sure to carefully review the Announcements and Instructions sections on the page that you are redirected to.

In order to provide OISA with the information needed to complete your request, you will need to complete the following sections and requests:

Attached Documents: You will be asked to attach a scan of your Employment Offer Letter as well as your CPT Employer Job Description.

Signature Documents: This section will ask you to review and digitally sign documents with important information that indicate your understanding. Please be aware that these are legal documents. Please contact OISA if you have any questions before clicking the buttons to digitally sign these documents.

Recommendations: 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

Carefully read each section for important information on how to request these recommendations before clicking Request Electronic Recommendations at the bottom of each request.

Learning Content: Please review important information about CPT in this section. When you are finished, click the Mark as Read button. You may also print this article for future reference.

Assessments: In this section, you will take a quiz to demonstrate your understanding about Curricular Practical Training. You are allowed to take this assessment 3 times and your final score will be the highest score you receive. Your final score must be at least 80% in order to complete this assessment.

Questionnaires: Please complete the questionnaire to provide important information to OISA about your CPT position and how you have prepared for this employment.

You can click the save button at the bottom of the form to save your answers as you go along but make sure you click the submit button to submit the information to your request.

When you have completed each section of the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request, click the Submit button at the top of the page.

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)

OISA will request you to provide proof of enrollment in CSPL493 in order to process your CPT approval. You should provide proof of your enrollment through the ISS Portal. Please only complete this request once OISA has requested you do so.

To submit your proof of enrollment, log in to your ISS Portal account and select F-1 Student Requests from the menu on the left side of the page, then 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.”