Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) are two types of temporary off-campus employment available to F-1 students. Please note that students cannot start these types of employment without prior authorization.CPT is temporary off-campus employment authorization in the student’s field of study.  This kind of work authorization is employer-specific, so you need to find employment before applying. CPT is not available to you once you have completed your program of study.  The deadline for applying for CPT is the start date of the semester.  A two week grace period after the start of classes will be allowed in special cases. Please plan ahead to ensure that your CPT is authorized in time. To review our complete CPT policy, please click CPT Policy.


  • Must have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year prior to authorization date
  • Must be in good F-1 status
  • Must be in good standing with the school
  • Must have attended an Employment Workshop in the previous semester, or no later than the first two weeks of the current semester
  • IEP students are not eligible
  • Other requirements specific to type of authorization. See below.

How to Apply for CPT

    1. Complete the Online CPT Workshop (see below)
    2. Get job offer letter from employer
    3. Register for CPT course (if applicable)
    4. Fill out the CPT Form (fillable PDF)
    5. Drop off the CPT Form with your employment letter at the ISSS front desk

Note: All these points are covered in detail during the Employment Workshop.

Online Workshop

**Please note: this presentation is best viewed in Firefox or Chrome browsers.  Please view in full-screen.**

After viewing the slideshow, please access this webpage.

When should you apply?

You can apply as soon as you have (1) attended an employment workshop (2) completed the CPT application (3) have an employment letter (4) and are registered for the CPT class. CPT typically coincides with the beginning and ending dates of the semester. The deadline to apply is two weeks after the start of the semester, which corresponds to the registrar’s drop/add dates. Below are the authorized dates for CPT by Semester.

CPT may be authorized prior to the first day of classes of the semester, but cannot go beyond the last day of finals of that semester. EXAMPLE: For a Fall 2013 CPT authorization you can work during the Fall Break (8/4/2013 to 8/25/2013) and then during the Fall semester until the last day of finals (8/26/2013 to 12/17/2013). 

If you work during authorized break periods, your employment letter must specify how many hours you work during the break period. EXAMPLE: In the above example, if the student worked full-time during the Fall Break, he or she must indicate the hours worked on the employment letter. For more information about Part-Time and Full-Time CPT and letter qualifications, please review the brief information below and attend an employment workshop.

What is the difference between Part-Time (P/T) and Full-Time (F/T) CPT?

 Part-Time CPT:

  • 20 hours or less
  • Typically used during the Fall and Spring Semesters, but can be done any semester or break period
  • Is permitted when a student is enrolled full-time in classes during the Fall and Spring Semesters (12 credit hours for undergraduates and 9 credit hours for graduates)
  • Can be done in addition to on campus work or a graduate assistantship. Example: A student can have a graduate assistantship and do a part-time CPT at the same time. ISSS recommends you consult your academic advisor before choosing to do both CPT and assistantship at the same time
  • Can be done for unlimited semesters, but requires new authorization every semester
  • You must register for the CPT class every semester you do CPT

 Full-Time CPT:

    • 20 hours or more
    • Typically used during the Spring, Summer, and Winter Breaks (see chart below for dates) which are authorized school break periods
    • Can be authorized during Fall and Spring Semesters (or last semester) if the F/T position is a requirement of the degree. Requirement must be explicitly stated in course bulletin and student must provide copy of this requirement at time of application
    • Can be authorized when a graduate student has completed all coursework and is ONLY working on thesis or dissertation and has no graduate assistantship.
    • Can be done if the Fall or Spring semester is the student’s final semester of study and  he or she is officially under-enrolled. Student must complete an Academic Reduced Course Load Form and be approved first before pursuing F/T CPT.  EXAMPLE: A student only has one degree requirement remaining to complete his/her studies and has found an internship that requires a 30 hourwork week, which is a F/T CPT. The student must have his/her advisor complete the Academic Reduced Course Load Request Form, submit it to ISSS, and have it approved BEFORE he/she can be eligible for F/T CPT. Per GSU policy, graduate assistants must maintain F/T enrollment to receive a graduate assistantship tuition waiver and stipend. As a result, a student may have to decide between doing a F/T CPT and maintaining his/her graduate assistantship
    • Can be authorized for a student who is enrolled during the Summer Semester if the student has not completed all of his or her degree requirement.

Curricular Practical Training FAQ

Yes. Come to an employment workshop for more details.
A student can do part-time CPT (up to 20 hours) while school is in session and full-time (more than 20 hours/week) during breaks. However, specific authorization must be requested in advance for full-time employment during breaks.
No. Any work performed without authorization is considered illegal. You cannot start working until you receive written authorization from ISSS.
It all depends on your situation, so please come to an Employment Workshop to learn about it.
This is rarely authorized. It all depends on your situation, so please come to an Employment Workshop to learn about it.