Curricular Practical Training

CPT Process and Policy

International Student Services requires all international students who would like to participate in an off-campus work experience to have their work experience reviewed and approved by the Office of Career Development.

Students must thoroughly read and follow the required steps outlined in the CPT packet.  Failure to abide by the requirements of CPT could result in termination of the I-20 and SEVIS record.


Federal Labor Laws have determined that a person will need work authorization for a paid or unpaid work experience, internship, or training. This means if an F-1 student is going to work off campus, that person will need to receive work authorization before beginning the experience.  

To thoroughly understand the impact of unauthorized work you must read  FDU F-1 International Student Work Authorization Policy

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a form of off-campus employment authorization that permits eligible F-1 international students to partake in temporary employment, internships, cooperative education, or practical training directly aligned with their academic field. This valuable opportunity enables international students to gain hands-on experience while pursuing education in the United States.

The experience must be an essential component of the student’s established curriculum and directly linked to the major area of study. It can be either part-time (up to 20 hours per week) or full-time (exceeding 20 hours per week), contingent on program requirements.

To qualify for CPT, students must meet specific criteria

  1. Maintain valid F-1 status.
  2. Be enrolled full-time in a U.S. institution for at least two consecutive semesters (with certain exceptions).
  3. Possess a job offer directly related to their major field of study.

Key considerations regarding CPT

Authorization: Before participating in CPT, F-1 students must secure approval from their Designated School Official (DSO).

Eligibility: Students need to maintain active status for a full academic year in the United States, equivalent to two consecutive full-time terms, excluding time spent in English language preparation or EPS courses.

Full-Time and Part-Time Options: CPT provides flexibility, allowing students to choose between full-time (exceeding 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours or fewer per week) employment based on their academic program’s requirements.

Duration: CPT authorization is granted on a semester basis, aligning with specific start and end dates for each semester.

  • Fall Semester: August 28, 20XX–December 20, 20XX
  • Spring Semester: January 22, 20XX–May 14, 20XX
  • Summer Semester: May 20, 20XX–August 10, 20XX

Paid and Unpaid Opportunities: CPT positions can be either paid or unpaid, contingent on employer policies and the nature of the work.

Impact on Optional Practical Training (OPT): Accumulating 12 months or more of full-time CPT may affect a student’s eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Academic Approval: To be valid, a CPT experience must be integral to the student’s academic program and endorsed by an academic advisor or faculty member, ensuring that the practical training aligns with the student’s educational objectives.

The Application Process

  1. Evaluate your CPT eligibility.
  2. Speak with your Academic Advisor to identify available internship credits and determine your Faculty Mentor for CPT.
  3. Secure an internship and acquire an Employment Offer Letter. Sample Offer Letter
  4. Present the Employment Offer Letter and the signed Career Development Internship for Academic Credit Acknowledgement form to Career Development.
  5. After obtaining approval from Career Development, forward the Faculty Mentor Recommendation form to your Faculty Mentor for completion.
  6. Upon completion of the Faculty Mentor Recommendation form, submit the CPT packet to your Academic Advisor for registration.
  7. Once all necessary signatures are obtained, email the comprehensive CPT packet to International Student Services at for processing.  Please allow 7 business days for the processing of CPT requests.  Do not begin the training until the new I-20 bearing the DSO’s (Designated School Official) CPT authorization has been issued and the CPT’s Start Date has been reached.

Contact Information

201-692-2743 Metro Campus

973-443-8672 Florham Campus
Current Students
Prospective Students