Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off-campus work experience that must: 1) be relevant to an F-1 student’s field of study, 2) carried out while a student is engaged in an academic program, and 3) 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 a CPT faculty advisor.

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.

Unpaid internships are only permissible if the duties of the internship do not replace a paid position. Please note that unpaid internships do not allow for any type of payment (scholarship, travel reimbursement, etc). Any payments received during an internship would require paid work authorization approval from the ISSO and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

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 employment.

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 intersession. 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 ISSO Advisor.

Please see the links below for further guidance on the CPT process.