Curricular and Optional Practical Training


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a program that allows international students to gain work experience that is beneficial to their education.
Students receive academic credit for their work experience although the credit cannot be included on the graduate degree plan and does not count towards the credits required for the degree which is being pursued. 

CPT is a separate program from Optional Practical Training (OPT) which can be used after graduation, and which does not involve academic credit. Computer Science graduate students pursue a CPT opportunity for three reasons: 

  •  CPT can provide good experience in the workplace.
  •  The time spent in CPT, if less than 12 months of full time work, does not count against a student’s OPT time limit.
  •  Financial support is often unavailable, especially during the summer, and CPT internships can pay normal wages.

Departmental Rules

The use of CPT is subject to two departmental rules:

  • The experience needs to be one that advances the student's training in the field in which the student is pursuing a degree.
  • CPT is not to delay academic progress.


A student becomes eligible for CPT after two semesters of CS graduate coursework. To be eligible for CPT,the student must be in good academic standing and the student must have the agreement of a faculty member to serve as the CPT advisor. Other government or university-mandated eligibility must be followed  and understanding/adherence to rulesets outside of the department is the responsibility of the student. Students who have completed one semester of academic-year CPT (Fall or Spring) are ineligible for a second academic-year semester of CPT. They may still undertake Summer CPT up to the government/university limit.

CPT Approval

A graduate student who wishes to undertake a CPT  must first obtain the permission of a faculty member to register for CPT as one of their students. The CPT advisor and student must agree on what kind of final report (required for academic credit)will be submitted to the advisor by the student. Once permission has been received and plans for the final report agreed upon, the student must submit The CPT Request Form. The department will verify the student meets department requirements and a permission number for the course will be e-mailed to the student. Students must adhere to university registration requirements when applying for CPT. 

  • Students taking Academic Year CPT may not hold concurrent TA or RA appointments.
  • Students with full-time Summer CPT may not hold concurrent TA or RA appointments.

Exceptions, Appeals, and Petitions

Any exception or appeal to this policy,shall be made to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). 


The International Student and Scholar Services office has a rule set that International Students must meet in order to be eligible for CPT. The department adheres fully to ISSS and government policy rules. 

To apply for CPT a student must: 

  • Complete a CPT workshop to learn about the application process.
    Watch the CPT Online Workshop 
    – Logging in to Moodle is required for the Online Workshop 
    – Enrollment key: issscpt

  • Download the CPT Application Packet or obtain the packet at ISSS.
  • Complete the “CPT Student Request and Academic Adviser Verification” form from the packet.
  • Your academic adviser must sign the back of the form.
  • Additional documentation may be required. Please see the instructions in the application packet.
  • Bring completed application materials to ISSS during walk-in hours or a scheduled appointment to meet with an F-1 adviser for processing.