UCI International Center

Curricular Practical Training

Section 1

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum for a program of study.

Types of CPT

Degree Requirement

A degree program that requires completion of an internship or work experience to complete degree requirements. This requirement must be in the UCI catalog as a degree requirement.

Course Credit

A course that requires completion of an internship or work experience in order to complete course requirements. Internships must be concurrent with course enrollment.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

Part-Time CPT

During the quarter all students are required to work part-time while on CPT. Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Filing Fee Status (for graduate students) does not allow participation in CPT.

Full-Time CPT

During the vacation periods (Winter, Spring, Summer break) F-1 students may choose to work full-time.Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. If you participate in a total of 12 months of full-time CPT during your academic program, you will not be eligible for OPT. Please note that part-time CPT does not count towards your 12 months of full-time CPT.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Valid F-1 immigration status
  • Full-time enrollment for three consecutive quarters
  • Have a job offer related to your field of study/major
  • Enroll in a course during the quarter you plan to participate in CPT (if required for a course)
  • Obtain CPT authorization BEFORE beginning your employment; authorization cannot be backdated.

Determining When to Apply for CPT

CPT will be authorized only during the sessions listed below. CPT cannot begin before the quarter start date listed below, and must end, on or before the listed quarter end date. The deadlines below are the dates an application must be submitted to the International Center in order to begin CPT by the first day of the quarter. If an application is submitted after the deadline below, CPT approval in the form of an updated I-20 will not be ready by the quarter start date, but will be accepted for review/approval. Internships that span over the course of multiple quarters will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Quarter/Session You Must Be Enrolled InDeadline to Submit CPT Application to IC (to start by the first day of the quarter) :CPT Must Begin On/Or After:CPT Must End By:
2019 Summer Session II 07/25/2019 08/05/2019 09/11/2019
Fall 2019 09/11/2019 09/23/2019 12/13/2019
Winter 2020 12/12/2019 01/02/2020 03/20/2020
Spring 2020 03/13/2020 03/25/2020 06/12/2020
2020 Summer Session I & II (recommended for 12 week internships) 06/10/2020 06/22/2020 09/11/2020
2020 Summer Session 10-Week 06/10/2020 06/22/2020 08/29/2020
2020 Summer Session I 06/10/2020 06/22/2020 07/29/2020
2020 Summer Session II 07/22/2020 08/03/2020 09/09/2020

Preparing Your CPT Application

  • Review the CPT Online Tutorial
  • Speak with your academic counselor/advisor to select the appropriate course to participate in CPT.
  • Prepare the following three documents: 
    • Complete the CPT Application Form
    • Proof of enrollment for the quarter you wish to participate in CPT
    • A CPT Letter, which must include:
      • Company’s Letterhead
      • Addressed to You
      • Job Title/Position
      • Job Description
      • Address of Employer, and Worksite Location (if different)
      • Specify if Work is Part-Time/Full-Time
      • Specify the EXACT Start and End Date of Employment
      • Employer’s Signature

Submitting Your CPT Application 

**This process is online now! We no longer require that you visit our office and meet with an advisor. Please apply online!**

    • Go to the CPT Application on our website
      • You will need to login with your UC NetID
    • Follow the steps as listed on the CPT Online Tutorial to complete the application
      • You will need to fill out the CPT Information Form and upload your CPT application form, proof of enrollment, and CPT letter
    • After completing this process you will receive a confirmation email. Keep this for your records.

CPT Application Processing

The International Center requires seven (7) business days to process your CPT application. If your application is incomplete or the incorrect your application will be denied and you will be emailed and asked to redo the entire application. 

The submission of your applicaiton will result in a new I-20. The I-20 will be ready on the seventh business day from the time you submitted a complete and correct CPT application. An email notification will be sent to you ONLY if your application is ready earlier than the seventh business day otherwise it is your responsibility to pick up your application on or after the seventh business day. Your application will not be expedited, and must be received by the International Center deadline date, in order to begin your internship by the quarter/session start date.

Picking Up Your CPT Application

Bring a photo ID to the International Center to pick up your new I-20. This I-20 will show your CPT information. If you cannot pick up your application in person, you can do one of the following:

  • Provide an addressed envelope so the International Center can mail you your new CPT I-20
  • Authorize a friend to pick up on your behalf. If a friend picks up your application, they must have a signed authorization letter and their photo ID.

CPT and Unpaid Internships

There is a difference between volunteering and engaging in an unpaid internship. Volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without compensation. If you plan to participate in an unpaid internship, and gain work experience directly related to your field of study/major you will still need to apply for CPT.