F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
An eligible student may be authorized to participate in a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 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).
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 approved by a UMass Lowell (UML) faculty advisor or the Career and Co-op Center.
CPT permits students to engage in academic-related internships. Internships typically follow the semester calendar, and are only permitted for students who are actively engaged in their UMass Lowell academic program. Students must complete one full academic year before they are eligible for CPT.
Internships (paid or unpaid) would require a CPT application submitted to our office at least two weeks prior to the start of the student's training.
CPT authorization is employer, date, and semester specific. A student may not begin employment until an ISSO advisor has issued a CPT Form I-20. The authorization is date specific, and the student can only work within the designated authorization dates (authorization dates are listed on page 2 of the Form I-20). CPT is authorized for a specific employer and the student may not work for any other employer during this period. If a placement is continued for a second semester, a new application must be submitted to the ISSO.
Work Hour Limits
Typically, students are not permitted to exceed 20 hours of CPT per week during academic semesters, but may be authorized for full-time CPT over the summer. However, students participating in approved, full-time Co-op work experiences are permitted to work full-time during 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 International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) Advisor.
Unpaid internships are only permissible if the duties of the internship do not replace a paid position.
Students authorized for more than an aggregate of 12 months of full-time CPT will lose eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization.