Many academic programs and majors at SCU have internships, externships and practicum integrated into their curriculum. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is the immigration authorization that gives F-1 international students the ability to participate in these practical training requirements while maintaining valid immigration status.
Eligibility for CPT
In order to be eligible for CPT, you must meet each of the below eligibility criteria
Since CPT is a benefit of F-1 status, you must be in valid F-1 status in order for our office to process your CPT request. If you are in the process of changing your immigration status, you are not eligible to begin CPT until your status is F-1 and your immigration record has been validated.
Must be fully enrolled for the full academic year proceeding your CPT authorization
- Must be fully enrolled for the full academic year preceding your CPT authorization
- A full academic year is 3 consecutive quarters or 2 semesters (Law School and Jesuit School of Theology)
- Full time enrollment is 8 units for all graduate (Master’s / Doctoral) level programs and 12 units for undergraduate (Bachelor's) programs.
- Enrollment must be within your academic program and must be completed at SCU. Enrollment in a different academic program, or at another university does not count toward the academic year requirement.
- Summer enrollment is not mandatory. If you enroll in a full course load during the summer, then this counts toward your full academic year. If you do not enroll in a full course load, then this does not count toward or against your full academic year.
- Enrollment does not need to be in F-1 status. If you completed full time academic terms in a different immigration status (such as H-4), this can count toward your full academic year.
- Reduced Course Load, leave of absence and withdraw all generally restart your consecutive enrollment. Prior to requesting these immigration authorizations, an ISS Advisor will discuss how they impact your eligibility for CPT and OPT.
In order to be authorized for CPT your practical training opportunity (sometimes called internships, externships or practicums) must be directly related to your major. To learn more about evaluating academic internships and job offers, please see below.
- Curricular ties are the most important element for CPT authorization.
- CPT can only be authorized if a student is earning academic credit for practical training tied to their curriculum (or, in other words, your major and your classes).
- CPT can only be authorized if a student has passed all prior CPT related courses. If you fail a CPT related course, you are no longer eligible to participate in CPT at SCU.
- Many academic programs and majors at SCU have internships, externships and practicums integrated into their curriculum. To learn how to get credit for practical training within your major, please see below.
- During the academic year, you cannot only be enrolled in a CPT course unless it is a required practicum.
- Students who have met the requirements to graduate cannot be authorized for CPT.
Evaluating Academic Internships and Job Offers
Guidance on finding the right opportunity
- Your faculty advisor will work with you to understand and evaluate your practical training opportunity and its relevance to your major when you meet to go over your CPT Cooperative Agreement.
- When considering a practical training opportunity you should first consider what you will learn and how the opportunity aligns with your major.
- Consider which classes that you’ve already taken and how you will be able to apply this material to your practical training experience. Consider which classes you plan to take in the future and how your practical training experience will enhance and prepare you for this course work.
- During academic terms (Fall, Winter, Spring) we will only authorize in person CPT opportunities in the bay area.
- We can authorize CPT outside of the bay area during summer break.
We are currently authorizing CPT for many internships which have moved to a virtual format. The work location on your CPT Cooperative Agreement should be the address where you are primarily working. If you have any questions about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since CPT is practical training tied to your education rather than optional employment, CPT requires on-site, in-person mentoring and supervision.
- We cannot approve CPT to work from home, on-campus or at a remote working location.
- We cannot approve CPT that is independent, unsupervised, or self-employment.
COVID-19 Update: We are authorizing CPT for many internships which have moved to a virtual format due to health and safety concerns. During this time, if your company requires or recommends that you work remotely, you may do so, but be sure to remain in close contact with your supervisor. You do not need to notify our office about this temporary change. The work location on your CPT Cooperative Agreement should be the company address where you would work if you were not sheltering in place due to the pandemic. If you have any questions about this, please email email@example.com.
- CPT with a for-profit company should generally be paid.
- You can learn more about the Department of Labor rules around unpaid internships here.
- We cannot approve CPT where the hourly pay does not meet the minimum wage.
Altruistic, avocational volunteering (such as passing out food to unhoused people, or participating in a community clean up project) does not require employment authorization. However, productive work done off campus, regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid, requires prior Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization from our office.
You can only accept an unpaid position if the lack of payment does not violate U.S. Labor Laws. Generally speaking if you’re doing work that benefits a for-profit company in any way, your work should be compensated. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has a 7 point test to help you determine if the position you are offered is allowed to be unpaid or if payment is required.
For information on how to evaluate competing employment offers or on how to professionally negotiate an employment offer, please contact your career center.
- For CPT in the final term, your CPT end date may not go beyond your program end date (usually the last day of finals for the term).
- Once a student applies for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), they are no longer eligible to apply for CPT. If you want to engage in CPT during your final academic term, you must secure your CPT I-20 before you request your OPT I-20.
Relevant CPT Courses By Major
Below is the current list of SCU’s academic programs and majors that have internships, externships and practicums integrated into their curriculum. If your major or academic program is not listed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information (be sure to include your name, SCU ID and your major in the email).
Questions about prerequisites or enrollment should be directed to your academic program. Questions about class assignments and grading should be directed to the faculty member who is teaching the course.
How to Fill Out Your CPT Cooperative Agreement
- The form should be typed and printed single sided prior to visiting our office for CPT authorization. We cannot review electronic forms and we cannot print your form for you.
- The form must be completely filled out and no fields should be left blank. If the field does not apply, type N/A (meaning Not Applicable).
- You are only eligible for Full Time CPT authorization during the summer (regardless of the number of units you’re enrolled in), or if you are in your final term and you are enrolled in half-time or less units (i.e. for graduate students 4 or less units, including the CPT course units; for undergraduate students 6 or less units, including the CPT course units).
- If you are authorized Full Time CPT in the summer, you may work as many hours as you like, including CPT and on-campus employment.
- If you are authorized for Part Time CPT, you may not work more than 20 total hours per week, including CPT and on-campus employment.
During the school year (Fall, Winter, Spring), students are limited to working part-time on-campus.
Part-time is defined as 19 hours per week on-campus, or 20 hours per week off campus (CPT).
If you plan to work both on and off campus during the school year (Fall, Winter, Spring), you may work no more than 20 total hours per week (so for example, 5 hours on campus and 15 off campus).
- Since CPT is curricular and based on your enrollment in a class, authorization dates are based on the academic calendar. Use the academic calendars below:
- CPT may begin as early as the day after the prior term’s finals end.
- CPT may extend until either the day before the next term begins (for students who will be enrolled in the following term) or the last day of finals (for students completing their degree).
- Remember, CPT is authorized by academic term (one term at a time) so you can't have dates that include more than one term. If you want to do CPT that extends through multiple terms, you will have to follow the CPT process each term.
- The start date listed on your CPT Cooperative Agreement must be at least two business days in the future when submitted. Process Note: Our office needs 2 business days (Monday to Friday, not including University holidays) to process CPT requests via email. Please make sure your CPT Cooperative Agreement has a start date that is at least 2 full business days in the future when you submit the request to our office.
- We provide an annual list of earliest and latest possible CPT dates as a courtesy to assist students in completing the CPT Cooperative Agreement. The dates are updated annually in July. You can also determine the dates yourself using the academic calendar.
Earliest and latest possible CPT start and end dates for:
|Academic Term||Earliest Possible CPT Start Date||
Latest Possible CPT End Date (continuing students)
|Latest Possible CPT End date (graduating student)|
|Fall Quarter 2023||9/7/2023||1/7/2024||12/8/2023|
|Winter Quarter 2024||12/9/2023||4/1/2024||3/22/2024|
|Spring Quarter 2024||3/23/2024||6/19/2024||6/13/2024|
|Fall Semester 2023 Law||7/23/2023||1/5/2024||12/15/2023|
|Spring Semester 2024 Law||12/16/2023||5/27/2024||5/15/2024|
|Summer Semester 2024 Law||5/16/2024||8/16/2024||7/20/2024|
- For CPT in the final term, your CPT end date may not go beyond your program end date (usually the last day of finals for the term).
- Once a student applies for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), they are no longer eligible to apply for CPT. If you want to engage in CPT during your final academic term, you must secure your CPT I-20 before you request your OPT I-20.
- This section should address what you expect to learn, not just what you expect to “do”. Oftentimes students will simply list their job duties. Keep in mind that this section does not ask for your job duties, it asks for your training objectives.
- Try starting your bullets or sentences with learning centric statements such as “gain experience with...” or “learn how to…” or “practice...”
Please ensure that your CPT Cooperative Agreement is properly completed and signed prior to submission with ISS.
This will be signed for the faculty responsible for overseeing your CPT, as follows:
- Undergraduate students: Professor teaching the CPT qualifying course
- Graduate Engineering: Your Academic Advisor (or department chair, if advisor is unavailable)
- Graduate Business: Professor teaching the CPT qualifying course
- Graduate Education and Counseling Psychology: Professor teaching the CPT qualifying course
- Law School: Professor teaching the CPT qualifying course
- Jesuit School of Theology (JST): Professor teaching the CPT qualifying course, which is your program director (not your thesis or academic advisor)
This will be signed by your supervisor at the company where you will be doing your CPT.
We will accept verified electronic signatures on all ISS forms, including the OPT I-20 Request. If you opt for the electronic signature, the signature must have a verification mark or be an signature. Typed signatures or signatures with a typed appearance are not accepted. Programs such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign have this feature. Please see below for an example:
OPT applications: Your OPT I-20 and Form I-765 must be hand signed prior to mailing your OPT application to USCIS.
If you still have questions about CPT after reviewing this website and our workshop videos, please either email email@example.com or schedule an appointment.
How to Get your CPT Authorization
Once you have completed enrollment for the term and have your completed and signed CPT Cooperative Agreement you are ready to have your CPT authorized. CPT authorization is processed via email.
Once your CPT Cooperative Agreement is properly completed and signed, you will submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org via email.
Your CPT Request email must include:
- Subject Line: CPT Request (Your Name and SCU Student ID#)
- Attach your completed CPT Cooperative Agreement
- The start date on your CPT Cooperative Agreement must be at least 2 full business days in the future
If you are enrolled in less than full time (in Fall, Winter, Spring):
- Also attach: a signed and completed Reduced Course Load (RCL) Request Form
- Reduced Course Load Form is not required in Summer (unless it’s your final term and you are graduating in summer)
Do Not Submit:
letters, documents, addendum, employment offers, transcripts, syllabus, or prior I-20s.
When authorizing your CPT an ISS Advisor will:
- Confirm your contact information is up-to-date and accurate
- Confirm you are eligible for CPT by verifying in eCampus that you have:
- Enrolled in a full course load for the entire prior academic year (3 quarters or 2 semesters)
- Completed enrollment for the term in which you’re doing CPT
- Properly enrolled in a class that requires off campus practical training
- Passed all CPT related courses that you’ve enrolled in
- Review your CPT Cooperative Agreement for accuracy and completeness
Once we've completed this process we will send you a reply email to confirm whether we have authorized your CPT and let you know when to expect your new I-20 with CPT authorization.
If we are not able to authorize your CPT, we will explain the reason why we cannot authorize your CPT, and you will be able to fix the issue and resubmit your CPT Request.
Once we receive your properly completed and signed CPT Cooperative Agreement, it will take our team 2 full business days to process the request.
Business days are Monday to Friday, and do not include university holidays.
Once our team creates your new I-20 showing the CPT authorization on page 2, we will email you and give you the option to either collect the I-20 from our office during our document pick-up hours, or pay to have it shipped to you.
F-1 students are only eligible for a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) if they are working. If you do not already have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), you can apply for one after you have your CPT I-20 in hand. More information and instructions on how to apply can be found on our SSN website.
After your CPT has been Authorized
Once you have your CPT I-20 you should review it carefully to ensure that it is accurate. You will need to show your CPT I-20 to your company, along with your passport and I-94 to demonstrate that you are allowed to work in the U.S.
If you notice any typos or errors on your CPT I-20, please email email@example.com to explain the error and request the correction. You do not need to visit our office to request the correction. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2 business days.
If you will end your practical training more than a week early or start more than a week late, we should update your CPT I-20. To get an updated CPT I-20, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the corrected dates in your email. You do not need to visit our office to request the correction. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2 business days.
Once you have been authorized CPT with a company, the expectation is that you will engage in the CPT as authorized. If anything changes, for example, if you end your CPT early, you would need to notify our office. If you wish to engage in CPT with a different company, you would have to go through the CPT process again (course enrollment, new CPT Cooperative Agreement, new CPT authorization, new CPT I-20 etc). This would also create a second CPT authorization in your record. Finally, it is generally considered very unprofessional to renege on an accepted offer. Before you renege, we would strongly recommend that you speak with an advisor at your career center.
Extension: If you wish to extend the duration of your CPT authorization within the same academic term, with the same employer, you should collect a newly completed and signed CPT cooperative agreement showing the new end date (the start date should remain the same) and send it to email@example.com via email as soon as possible, at least 3 business days before your current CPT authorization ends. You do not need to meet with an advisor in person for extension. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2-3 business days.
Future CPT: If you wish to engage in CPT during a different or future academic term, this is not considered an “extension” but is actually an entirely new CPT authorization. In this case, you would need to go through the entire CPT process (course enrollment, new CPT Cooperative Agreement, new CPT authorization, new CPT I-20 etc) for the next academic term.
You should generally not be travelling outside the U.S. if you are also authorized for CPT since the expectation is that you are in the U.S. engaged in classes and participating in the approved CPT. Short term travel, particularly as it aligns with your company's vacations or holidays, is fine.
Students who engage in 12 months of FULL TIME CPT are not eligible for OPT after the completion of their degree. Since SCU will only authorize FULL TIME CPT for students during the summer, or during their final term when they have less than ½ time enrollment needed to graduate, most SCU students will never be able to do 12 months of FULL TIME CPT.
In addition to the impact that FULL TIME CPT has on eligibility for OPT, students who participate in CPT multiple terms may be at an increased risk of being perceived as using CPT to work, rather than using CPT to support only academically integrated practical training. You can discuss the risks of doing CPT multiple times with your ISS advisor when you come in for CPT authorization.
In case there are ever questions about how the CPT was integrated into your academic program and related to your degree, we recommend that all students who do CPT keep the following documents:
- CPT Cooperative Agreement(s)
- Syllabus for the CPT related course(s)
- Assignments from the CPT related course(s)
- Employment Offer Letter(s)
- Employment Evaluation(s)
- Paystubs, W-2 tax document(s)
Special Advising for JST Students
CPT (Curricular Practical Training) authorization is required for participating in any off-campus ministry and must be obtained before engaging in any such activity.
- MDiv Students: Your Ministerial Praxis requires CPT authorization if your field education placement is off-campus. Remember, you must receive CPT authorization prior to engaging in any off-campus ministry.
- STL, and STD, and ThM Students: Your Pastoral Engagement, which is required each term throughout the program, requires CPT authorization if your pastoral placement is off-campus. Remember, you must receive CPT authorization prior to engaging in any off-campus ministry.
The CPT Cooperative Agreement is a required part of the CPT process. It is important that you fill it out correctly in order to avoid delays in your authorization.
- Company Name: this is the name of the parish or the location where you will be doing ministry (for example, All Saints Parish or Catholic Worker House)
- Paycheck Issuing Company: if you are working in a parish, this is where you list the diocese (for example, Diocese of Oakland). If you are not working in a parish, you can leave this blank.
- Company Address (site of CPT): this should be the location where you will be working most frequently.
Faculty Advisor Information
Your "Faculty Advisor" will be your program director (not your academic advisor) as the program director is responsible to oversee the academic evaluation of your ministry.
- STL - Paul Janowiak SJ
- STD - Eddie Fernandes SJ
- ThM - Thomas Cattoi
- M.Div - Deborah Ross
CPT is only approved 1 semester at a time. Your dates need to match the semester you are asking for permission to engage in ministry. You can read about the correct dates here.
Who signs my CPT form?
Student Signature: This is your signature.
Supervisor Signature: This is the signature of the person who will supervise your ministry at the ministry location.
Faculty Advisor Signature: This is your program director (not your academic advisor)
- STL - Paul Janowiak SJ
- STD - Eddie Fernandes SJ
- ThM - Thomas Cattoi
- M.Div - Deborah Ross
CPT authorization dates follow the academic calendar. The earliest possible start and latest possible end dates for Fall and Spring semesters are listed below. However, your situation may require you to request authorization for a narrower time frame.
|Academic Term||Earliest Possible CPT Start Date*||Latest Possible End Date (continuing students)*||Latest Possible End date (graduating student)*|
|Fall Semester 2022 JST||September 5, 2023||January 28, 2024||December 15, 2023|
|Spring Semester 2023 JST||December 16, 2023||September 3, 2024||May 17, 2024|
*Important Notes Regarding Dates:
- The start date on the Cooperative Agreement must be at least one week in the future at time of submission.
- If it is your last semester, CPT can only be authorized through the last day of finals or the program end date on your I-20, whichever comes first.
To apply for authorization for Curricular Practical Training off-campus, JST students need to:
- Be properly enrolled in a class that requires the placement, such as
- FE-2152: M.Div. Integration SeminarII – for the 2nd year ministerial formation requirement in the M.Div. program.
- FE-4400: STL Research Practicum - for the pastoral engagement requirement in the S.T.L. and Th.M. programs.
- FE-4401: STD Research Practicum - for the pastoral engagement requirement in the S.T.D. program.
- Enter “YOUR NAME– JST CPT” in the subject line of the email.
- In the email, write the address where your I-20 with CPT authorization should be mailed.
- Attach a scanned copy of the completed Cooperative Agreement.
- Attach a scanned copy of the Reduced Course Load form, if applicable.
Remember, you may not engage in any off-campus ministry until you receive a new I-20 with proper CPT authorization. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Advising for ECP Students
CPT (Curricular Practical Training) authorization is required for participating in any off-campus practicum and must be obtained before engaging in any such activity.
- Counseling Psychology: Your practicum is required in the final year of your program.
- MATTC: Your practicum is required in the final year of your program.
Since ECP practicum is mandatory and requires off-campus placement often in education settings (such as at schools) that begin before the SCU Fall quarter, ISS will authorize CPT dates that start before the start of the Fall quarter.
ECP students should follow the same CPT authorization process as all other students on the main campus.
ECP students can be authorized full-time CPT if they have completed all of their academic program except the mandatory practicum. If you have completed all classes other than mandatory practicum, please bring a completed Thesis / Capstone Confirmation Form to our office when you request your CPT Authorization.
Resources for Students
Resources For Employers
Our office has developed a general resource page for employers seeking to hire students engaged in CPT, OPT and STEM OPT. For questions about corporate immigration compliance/ I-9 validation we recommend contacting a qualified immigration attorney.
US immigration regulations are complex and change frequently. The University strives to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, however, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student. Further, resources and links do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University.