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Curricular Practical Training FAQs

General Information

CPT stands for Curricular Practical Training and is the name of the work authorization available to F-1 students in good status and good academic standing to engage in an off-campus internship.

Co-op is an abbreviation of “Cooperative Education”. Co-op is a part of the Career Development Center and facilitates students obtaining valuable work experiences as part of their academic program. The Co-op staff not only helps students in their search and preparation, but also establishes and maintains relationships with employers so that they will continue to recruit NC State students for their job openings.

It can. If you engage in more than 11 months and 29 days of full time CPT, you become ineligible for OPT. Please note that this only applies to FULL-time CPT, not part-time CPT.

Find out more about Optional Practical Training (OPT)

CPT and pre-completion OPT are both work authorization which you can use before you finish your degree program.  Pre-completion OPT can be used for work/training which is directly related to your field of study but is not necessarily a requirement for your degree program.  Any pre-completion OPT is deducted from your total 12 months of available OPT.  (Please note that OPT is adjudicated by USCIS and the application time can average 2-4 months).

As soon as you have met all of your degree requirements, your F-1 student status ends. You are no longer eligible to continue enrollment and therefore no longer eligible for CPT.  To be authorized for work past your program date as a F-1, you must apply for and obtain work authorization through OPT.

No, you have to have been a full-time student in your new major field for at least 1 semester before being able to base CPT on that major field of study (exceptions can be granted if it is determined that there is significant overlap between the degree fields; for example changing from ISE to IMSE, or from Computer Engineering to Computer Networking).

CPT Application Process

We recommend that you apply for CPT as early as possible. Each semester, we generally begin accepting applications the same day the university registration/enrollment period for the consecutive semester opens. Please refer to the CPT website where we will post each semester’s application dates.

Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing after submitting completed application materials to CDC. You will receive a notification email once the application has been transferred over to OIS, then another once the I-20 is ready for pickup.  If OIS needs to correspond with you during the review process, an advisor will send you an email directly.  Otherwise, please do not make status inquiries with OIS, as this only slows the review process for all.

Please refer to the step-by-step instructions outlined on the main CPT page.

No.  CPT is an academic work authorization and therefore it is required that you obtain approval for your proposed work/training from your academic advisor (your DGP if you are a graduate student).

No.  CPT cannot be authorized unless the employer has signed off in agreement to abide by the terms and expectations indicated on Page 2.  If an employer cannot do this, then there are two, university-approved, alternate versions of this page available.  Some version of this page MUST be signed by the employer in order for the student to participate in Curricular Practical Training.

No. Your CPT authorization is issued for one semester and your course registration is adjusted as a result. You cannot switch during your internship, because your course registration cannot be changed at that time. You must maintain full time enrollment.

Your job title, job description, salary, start and end dates, number of hours you will work per week and your actual physical work address.  If you will be working remotely, your offer letter must state that the work will be performed remotely and include the remote work location.

No. CPT is authorized on a semester-by-semester basis. Each semester OIS must determine your academic standing and your eligibility for CPT.

No.  Your GPA must meet the minimum requirement in order to be approved for participation in CPT.

Your Co-op Coordinator will advise you on which COP course to take during your CPT semester. Graduate students will register for COP 500 if they are working full-time (more than 20 hrs /week) or COP 501 if they are working part-time (20 hrs/week or less).

CPT Work Authorization

Part time employment is employment for up to 20 hours per week.

Yes, during the summer term.  Full-time employment is defined by USCIS as employment for more than 20 hours per week. (Even though USCIS does not restrict you from working more than 40 hours, labor laws and insurance-related university policies may prohibit this, so please check with your employer to make sure you are in compliance).

As soon as you have received your new I-20 with CPT work authorization from OIS and the CPT start date on page 2 of your I-20 has arrived.

It is possible even during enrollment terms to engage simultaneously in both part-time on-campus employment (at a maximum of 20 hours per week) AND part-/full-time CPT off-campus employment, if authorized, as these are two separate types of F-1 employment and therefore subject to different rules and regulations. In which case, the total amount of employment hours (combining on- and off-campus employment) could exceed 20 per week.

The summer semester is considered a vacation term (provided you are enrolled for the Fall semester and the summer is not your final semester) and so the normal 20 hour employment restriction described above does not apply.

To get your grade posted for the COP course, you must submit a post-work report with your advisor’s signature (or DGP) to the Co-op Office. The post-work report is a two-page report that documents your experience during the training period.