Basic Eligibility Requirements
If student’s academic program requires immediate participation in CPT, then the first academic year requirement can be waived. This is very rare, as most academic programs do not require that CPT be done in the first academic year.
F-1 students are not permitted to finish their program by only doing CPT. Students doing CPT during their last term must have required remaining work for completion of degree that is in addition to CPT. For this reason, it is mostly an occasional approval to graduate students working on their thesis/dissertation if the work is integral to the completion of their thesis/dissertation. This CPT would need to be approved by both their Thesis Advisor and the School Dean.
F-1 graduate coursework students are not permitted to do CPT in their last semester and need to apply for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (Pre-OPT) should they wish to work off-campus in their last semester. The only exception would be for students needing to complete a required off-campus work experience (practicum, clinical rotation, etc.) in their last semester.
An F-1 student making up an incomplete is not eligible for CPT.
A student completing their program in the summer is not permitted to do CPT unless they are a graduate thesis student who has work that is required for the completion of their degree and, even then, it must have the approval of their Thesis Advisor and School Dean.
CPT is authorized per academic semester by the International Students and Scholars Office and USCIS. CPT work authorization should fall within the semester/session dates.
If an F-1 student uses 12 months of full-time CPT, they will not be permitted to apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (Post OPT). Part-Time CPT does not impact the 12-month CPT allotment.
*BS-MS Students will not be eligible for CPT at the graduate level until they have earned 18 credits towards their graduate degree AND have completed a full academic year as a graduate student
Note: “Curricular” Practical Training (CPT) policies differ at various schools and even by academic department within the same school. Each UMass Lowell Academic Department reserves the legal right to deny a request for CPT at its sole discretion.