Santa Clara University

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Curricular Practical Training

An international student who has been enrolled full-time at Santa Clara University for one full academic year may be eligible to work off-campus in work which is directly related to his/her program of study. USCIS student regulations call this Curricular Practical Training (CPT) which should not be confused with Optional Practical Training (the 12 months of employment authorization available following graduation from Santa Clara University).  NOTE: Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT.

The regulations at 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(i) define curricular practical training 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." Curricular practical training is available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine consecutive months. In most cases, curricular practical training will not be authorized if it results in a work commitment of more than twenty hours/week while a student is enrolled in classes (exceptions at SCU exist for Graduate Engineering and Graduate CP&E students only).

Only part-time employment will be authorized while school is in session. During the summer break full-time employment can be authorized. Note that CPT is not authorized with a reduction in course load, except during a student's final term if less than a full course load is needed to graduate.


Eligibility

  • The requirements to be eligible for Curricular Practical Training are: The student must have been in full-time status for at least 3 consecutive quarters. Completion of an academic year satisfies this requirement even if the enrollment was not continuous due to summer vacation (i.e. winter enrollment, spring enrollment + summer vacation + fall enrollment = consecutive enrollment for an academic year). In addition, there are unit prerequisites that must be completed depending on one's program of study.
  • To qualify, the student must be in good academic standing, making normal progress, and must be registered for enrollment in either a cooperative education program or an internship class at Santa Clara University.
  • The employment must clearly be related to the student's field of study.
  • A department that offers "curricular practical training" must list the training opportunity as a course in the course catalog, list the units the student will receive for the CPT, and list the course title as it will appear on the Academic Transcript.
  • Students are not eligible for curricular practical training AFTER they have completed their degree.
  • The student must receive employment authorization before actually starting work.

WARNING: Failure to enroll in and complete the co-op/internship class will result in immediate violation of your legal status and could be cause for deportation. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill all requirements of Curricular Practical Training.


Application Procedure

Co-Op Program ( For Engineering Students Only)
  • Engineering students begin the process for a co-op with Amy Peterson (alpeterson@scu.edu) in the Career Center. Click here for additional information on co-operative education. Please note that it takes approximately 2 weeks to get all the required signatures on your co-op form before it is taken to International Student Services.
  • The students bring their completed Co-Op form and SEVIS ID to International Student Services (10 working days prior to the start date of their Co-Op).  Students who bring their documents to International Student Services late will have to amend their start dates to at least 10 working days later.
  • For part-time Co-Op, a student must register for a minimum of 8-units (including ENGR 288).  There is no maximum allowed length for part-time CPT prior to the completion of the degree. Only part-time employment will be authorized while school is in session.
  • Full-time Co-Op may be possible during summer if the student is enrolled in no more than 4 units as a graduate student or no more than 6 units as an undergraduate during the optional summer term.  Full-time Co-Op may be possible in a student's final term if the student requires less than 4 units to graduate. Note that a student who completes 12 months or more of full-time CPT will become ineligible to apply for OPT.
  • Please note that completion of an academic year (3 consecutive quarters) is required in addition to the above listed departmental requirements.

Graduate Engineering Students:

  • MS students who hold a prior degree in the same discipline (and all Ph.D. students - regardless of prior degree) who wish to participate in Co-Op must first complete a minimum of 12 units of SCU coursework in their major.
  • MS students who do not hold a prior degree in the same discipline who wish to participate in the Co-Op must first complete a minimum of 30 units of SCU coursework in their major.
  • Please note that the above minimum required units must be TECHNICAL in nature, that is, course work such as ENGR 200 (English for Engineers does not count towards the required minimum units).
  • The chair of the student's major department verifies the relevance of the work assignment and judges (for MS students) whether or not their prior degree qualifies as being in the same discipline as their current degree program.

Internships (for all other students at SCU):
  • Law students are not eligible for CPT. USCIS defines CPT as an employment opportunity that "is an integral part of an established curriculum" and one must receive academic credit in conjunction with the employment. However, the American Bar Association (ABA) prohibits such employment for law students.
  • Undergraduate students must enroll in a internship course to be eligible for CPT.   Off-campus employment is not available to undergraduate students until after the completion of your sophomore year.  Please be advised that only part-time employment will be authorized while school is in session. It is only during the summer break that full-time employment can be authorized. A reduction in course load is never permitted for part-time employment.
  • MBA/MSIS students complete the Internship Form at the MBA Office. Please be advised that only part-time CPT will be authorized while school is in session. It is only during the summer break that full-time employment can be authorized. A reduction in course load is never permitted for part-time employment, therefore, 9-units separate from the unit received for IDIS 697 must be taken each term since no GPA credit is given for this course.
  • ECP students complete the Internship/Practicum Form at the ECP office. The student enrolls in the Internship/Practicum class. If you are taking the training for practicum credit, you must be enrolled in the practicum course for the quarter during which you are actually doing the practicum (training). Failure to enroll in and complete the class will result in immediate violation of your legal status. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill all requirements of Curricular Practical Training.
  • Pastoral Ministries students complete the Independent Study/Directed Reading Form, which is available in the Pastoral Ministries department. A reduction in course load is never permitted for engaging in employment.
In all cases where CPT is permitted, the student provides the completed Independent Study/Internship Form, and visa documents to International Student Services. Students who bring their documents to International Student Services late will have to amend their start date to at least 10 working days later.

Important Notes:

  • Curricular Practical Training is authorized by the International Student Advisor, not the USCIS/California Service Center. An EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is not necessary.
  • The student cannot begin employment until the International Student Advisor endorses your SEVIS ID.
  • Part-Time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week (while you are also enrolled full-time for classes) is considered "part-time" curricular practical training. The employment authorization that will appear on your SEVIS ID should therefore specify permission to engage in "part-time" training and you must be careful to limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week.
  • Full-Time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered "full-time" curricular practical training and the employment authorization on your SEVIS ID should, in this case, specify permission to participate in "full-time" training. If you participate for twelve months or more, you will not be eligible for post-completion practical training.
  • Once approved, full-time curricular practical training is counted whether or not the student actually works for the entire period.
  • An accumulation of 12 or more months of Full-time CPT during the summer breaks will count against OPT.
  • Curricular Practical Training is employer-specific and is therefore only valid for the student's current employer. If there is a job change, the student must re-apply for new employment authorization.
  • Students authorized to engage in Curricular Practical Training, are required to report any change of name or address, or disruption of such training to the DSO for the duration of the authorized training.
  • CPT authorization is required for both paid and unpaid internships.

NOTE: Students who receive one year (12 months) or more of full-time curricular practical training will not be eligible for optional practical training. The Immigration Service (USCIS) does not limit the amount of required curricular practical training that students may utilize, but those students who receive twelve months of full-time employment authorization, will forfeit eligibility for any further training.