Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
International Students and Scholars

Visa Information

F1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be directly related to the major and an integral part of an established curriculum.

CPT is defined as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program, prior to completion of that program.  CPT authorization must be granted before starting paid or unpaid off-campus employment.  In some cases, volunteer experiences require CPT authorization. 

Questions or concerns regarding CPT may be referred to campus DSOs.


  • Must have completed two (2) semesters of study (by the time work commences)
  • Must have a declared major
  • Can be utilized only prior to graduation from Skidmore


  • Must relate to your major
  • Must be credit bearing (i.e. IN-100, MB-399, EC-399, etc.)
  • The experience must be part of your program of study
  • Must have a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from your employer
  • Must be employer and date specific
  • Must be approved in SEVIS (evidence on I-20) by DSO before beginning employment!

Application and Authorization

Follow these steps for CPT authorization

  1. Declare major (or second major).
    • See your current advisor or the Office of Academic Advising for help.
    • SEVIS regulations cite that practical training must be "directly related to the student's major area of study." (8 CFR § 214.2 f(9))
      • Note: Practical training may NOT be authorized in your minor area of study.
  2.  Find (off-campus) employment (i.e. paid/unpaid internship, employment)
  3. Find faculty advisor to supervise internship
  4. Apply and be approved for Internship Credit (a minimum of 1 credit is required)
  5. Submit CPT Request Form and letter from your employer to your DSO
  6. Schedule appointment with DSO to obtain CPT authorization (and new I-20)
    • CPT is date and employer specific
    • On CPT you can only work for the named employer for the registered dates
  7. Apply for Social Security Number (SSN), if necessary
  8. Start employment! (no sooner than start date listed for CPT on I-20)