Curricular Practical Training (CPT) enables F-1 students to gain off-campus employment authorization in the U.S. for intern, extern, research assistant, etc., as long as curricular credit requirements are met. A request for CPT authorization must be made to a Designated School Official (DSO), not a government agency. There is no application fee. A student may begin employment only after receiving a new I-20 with CPT approval. 


CPT employment, paid or unpaid, must relate to your program of study or major and you must take a required course to satisfy the curricular credit requirement. CPT is not authorized for concentrations. Failure to register and complete the required course will jeopardize your student status. A student must register for an independent reading (290 or 390), study (291 or 391), research (292 or 392), or other course approved by the department that requires an internship/externship, research project, or other curricular experience. Students must register for a minimum of 1 credit to qualify CPT. Math majors may register for Math 297 and the course is repeatable as long as the content changes. Employment completed during the summer, winter, or spring break requires course registration during the following fall, winter, or spring term.

CPT authorization is required for a participant in an approved Carleton off-campus program in the U.S. where an internship or other work experience is also required; the course runs concurrently with the off-campus program. CPT may be authorized during Carleton’s academic terms but the student must register for the required course each term and employment authorization is for only one term at a time.  


To qualify for CPT authorization a student must meet the following conditions:

  • Be in valid F-1 status before applying for CPT.  
  • Have been enrolled full-time in a degree program for a full academic year (10 consecutive months).
  • Have a job offer that your academic department verifies is practical work experience in your major.
  • Be in good academic status and making normal progress towards degree completion
  • Some majors may limit the number of internships and thus CPT courses; check with your department to see if you are eligible to apply for CPT.

A student who has received 12 months or more of full-time CPT is ineligible for post-completion (after graduation) Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-Time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.

CPT is not required for employment at Carleton during the academic year or breaks.

Exchange students and those who will not return to Carleton as a full time student the following term are not eligible for CPT.