Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is referred to by many different names.  Whether you call it Co-op, internship, working off-campus, or a part-time job, it all refers to the same thing:  CPT.  Beware! Not all off-campus employment qualifies for CPT authorization.  Read below for more information about what types of employment are eligible for CPT authorization. 


Curricular practical training allows you to work off-campus in a position related to your field of study.  Employment under CPT must also be considered “an integral part of an established curriculum.”  Curricular practical training falls into one of three categories:

  1. The training or internship is noncredit and is required of all students as part of their degree program.
  2. If the training is required for a particular course, but not for all students pursuing the degree, the training must be taken for course credit and the course objectives must be clearly defined.
  3. Training which is offered through the Pace University Cooperative Education Office which is an integral part of the curriculum but not required either for a particular course or of all students in a degree program.


Who is eligible for curricular practical training as offered through the Co-op Office?

Eligibility requirements for obtaining authorization from the International Student Advisor and the Co-op Office on your campus are as follows:

  1. You must be fully matriculated into a degree program.
  2. You must be enrolled in a full-time course of study (12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students).
  3. You must be in lawful F-1 status and have been a full-time student for at least one academic year when applying for CPT.

How many hours can I work?

While school is in session, you may be authorized to work on a part-time basis (no more than 20 hours per week).  During documented school vacations and breaks and during the summer you may be authorized to work on a full-time basis (40 hours per week).  During the academic year, CPT employment is in addition to your regular full-time course load.


The eligibility requirements and hourly limits for CPT authorizations include both paid and unpaid positions in accordance with Pace University policy.  The following policies apply to receiving university approval for unpaid work:

  1. Students may not begin any unpaid Co-op positions until they have met the eligibility requirements for receiving CPT authorization.  Students must have completed one academic year of study before beginning any university-approved work.
  2. Graduate students awarded Graduate Assistantships that include 20 hours of on-campus work are not eligible to take a Co-op position during the semester, paid or unpaid.  They are eligible to work a combined 40 hours (on-campus and off-campus, paid and unpaid) during the winter and summer breaks.

If you work 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training you will forfeit all optional practical training.  Part-time curricular practical training is not counted toward the 12-month threshold at which a student loses eligibility for optional practical training.  Employment of more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time and will be counted by the USCIS in determining your eligibility for optional practical training.


How do I apply for a Co-op Internship?

The following procedures should be followed to obtain authorization for a co-op internship:

  1. Visit the Co-Op office on your campus to notify them of your desire to seek Co-Op employment.
  2. Have the International Student Advisor on your campus complete an Employment Eligibility Memo on your behalf and return it to the Co-op Office.
  3. When you are hired for a position, register it with Co-op.  This confirmation will include the name and address of your employer, the number of hours you will be working and the dates of your employment.
  4. Once this is completed, bring it to the Office of International Programs and Services for processing.  At this point, the International Student Advisor will issue a new I-20 listing the location and dates of your CPT.
Print CPT Checklist

Work authorization will be granted on a semester basis.  If your co-op placement extends beyond this initial employment authorization, you must obtain renewal authorization from the International Student Advisor before the expiration date of your current authorization.  You may not continue to work beyond the end date that is specified on your Form I-20.  If you do, you are working illegally.


A student may begin Curricular Practical Training ONLY after receiving an endorsement on the Form I-20 from International Student Advisor.