Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization available to F-1 students for work experience that is considered an integral part of a student's curriculum or academic program.

CPT can only be authorized before graduation and is generally used for off-campus summer research or internships, including Davidson experiential programs such as Davidson in Washington.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The work experience must be related to your major field of study and an integral part of your academic program. This is why CPT must always be connected to some form of Davidson enrollment -- typically XPL 099.
  • You must have a declared major.
  • You must have been enrolled at Davidson full-time for at least one academic year (two semesters).
  • If CPT is pursued during the academic year, you must maintain a full course load. 
  • You many not work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. This includes on-campus and intern work.
  • Your employment, co-op or internship must be part of a bona fide employer-employee, supervisory relationship. Self-employment does not satisfy this requirement.
  • Apply for and receive CPT authorization BEFORE beginning any employment activities.
  • Any off-campus internship is considered employment regardless of whether you are paid or not; it will require CPT. Paid positions will require tax filing in the following year.

Step 1: Find an internship

If you have questions about how your internship relates to your major, please see your academic advisor. The Betty and B. Frank Matthews II ’49 Center for Career Development (Matthews Center) is a great resource as well.

Step 2: Submit the CPT I-20 Request in WildcatSync

  1. Ask your academic advisor to complete the CPT Advisor Recommendation Form.
  2. Fill out the CPT I-20 Request in WildcatSync.
  3. Upload an offer letter from your employer in the request form. The offer letter should be on company letterhead and must include:
    • Job title
    • A brief description of your job duties
    • Address of the location at which you will physically be working
    • Name of supervisor
    • Number of hours per week to be worked
    • Start and end dates of employment
    • Signature either electronically or by hand
  4. Submit the request. 

Step 3: Receive a new I-20 with CPT authorization from ISP

  1. ISP will review the request and, if everything is in order, issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization.
  2. You may begin working no sooner than the CPT start date on the I-20.
  3. At the end of the semester, ISP will work with the Office of the Registrar to have XPL 099 added to your transcript upon completion.

Note: If you are enrolled in XPL 199, and you are interning for an off-campus company, you will need CPT. Follow the steps above. 


Other Considerations

  • Part-time CPT does not take away any time from OPT. You can work up to 12 months of full-time CPT without affecting OPT eligibility. However, completing 12 months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT.
  • After you have met the one full academic year requirement, part-time CPT is unlimited. 
  • CPT is assessed and granted on a semester-by-semester basis. You must request an extension of CPT to continue working beyond the CPT end date.
  • If you are enrolled in a class for credit that requires CPT, such as Davidson in Washington, you are not required to have declared a major already.