Skip to Main Content

What Is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off-campus work experience that must be in the F-1 student’s field of study, done while a student engaged in an academic program, and must contain a curricular component. The purpose of CPT is to allow the student to gain practical experience in their field of study and to bring the learning that would otherwise take place in a traditional classroom setting to a physical, on-site workplace. The degree to which the work experience is curricular must be evaluated and assessed by the CPT Faculty Advisor.

Any internships (paid or unpaid) would require a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application submitted to our office at least two weeks prior to the start of your employment.

CPT typically permits students to engage in academic-related internships. Internships typically follow the semester calendar, and are only permitted for students who are still actively engaged in their UMass Lowell academic program, and only after completion of one academic year (among other eligibility requirements).

Unpaid internships are only permissible if it is a legitimate internship which would be unpaid for anyone. It cannot simply be for you to do unpaid work for a position that would otherwise be a paid position, as you don't want to risk breaking any Labor laws or U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services laws. The position must be in your field of study.

Please note that unpaid internships do not allow for ANY type of funding (scholarship, travel reimbursement, etc). Any payments to you based on the internship would necessitate the paid work authorization approval of our office and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

Work Hour Limits

Typically, students are not permitted to exceed 20 hours per week during academic semesters, but may be authorized for full-time CPT over the summer intersession. Students participating in approved, full-time Co-Op work experiences will be permitted to work full-time during the academic semesters. There may be other situations where students are permitted to engage in full-time CPT during the academic terms, although these cases are very rare, and need to be discussed with and approved by an ISSO Advisor.