Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Francis College of Engineering Doctoral Students

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as a required academic component of an established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study.

An eligible F-1 student may be authorized by the Designated School Official (DSO) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to participate in a curricular practical training program that is a required academic component of an established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT is not supplemental training experience and cannot be used interchangeably in the place of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

A student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for a full academic year. Exceptions to the one academic year attendance requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO based on prior approval by the academic department and College. A student may begin or continue a period of curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement for CPT and will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the period of authorized CPT.

Failure to obtain prior DSO’s authorization for CPT may result in severe consequences impacting the student’s immigration status in the U.S. and their eligibility for future benefits. CPT can be either paid or unpaid, part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours) and it is always employer/training site specific. Students may further discuss regulatory details and implications of CPT requests with DSOs at the ISSO. CPT is not supplemental training experience and cannot be used interchangeably in the place of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

CPT eligibility criteria and conditions for UMass Lowell Engineering Doctoral students:

  1. Student has completed one full academic year (fall/spring or spring/fall) in a full-time degree program
  2. Student is in good academic and judicial standing
  3. Student maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA or College established satisfactory GPA
  4. Student may not have any Incompletes, Unsatisfactory or Registration Holds
  5. The CPT Advisor and initial CPT approver must be the student’s dissertation advisor
  6. The final CPT approval must be granted by the College (Dean or designee)
  7. College must document and attest that the proposed approved curricular training (CPT) is a required or integral part of an established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study
  8. Student must enroll for a one-credit course correlating to the CPT authorization, in addition to academic registration requirements
  9. According to academic guidelines, CPT cannot exceed 6 months without documented exceptions approved by the College
  10. The ISSO officials will authorize CPT based on review of the student’s valid immigration status, fulfillment of the academic conditions listed above and final documented College approval.
  11. CPT is available only while the student is in F-1 status and before completion of his/her educational objective
  12. According to academic guidelines, CPT activities should be coordinated with Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and Office of Institutional Compliance (OIC). Students shall not sign any agreements (including NDA / CDA agreements) with the sponsoring employer before consulting with OTC, as such agreements may restrict publications and /or conflict with university policies.
  13. Eligibility for a TA upon return is at the discretion of the Department
  14. Students receiving an assistantship are not eligible for CPT
  15. Ph.D. students are also currently permitted -based on the conditions stated above- to do some fall or spring semester full-time off-campus CPT, but ONLY after they have become qualified doctoral candidates (e.g. passed their qualifying exam or proposal as required by their Department) and completed all required coursework and dissertation credits, but are still engaged in completing their dissertation work. CPT without completing the required coursework and dissertation credits may be approved at the discretion of the faculty advisor and with approval by the College Dean.

CPT Authorization Request:

Contact Sokny Long, Program Coordinator for Graduate Studies in Engineering, by email: Sokny_Long@uml.edu to request the Ph.D. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Authorization Form.