Curricular and Optional Practical Training


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a program that allows international students the opportunity to obtain 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 the student's timeliness to completion.


A student becomes eligible for CPT after two semesters of CS graduate coursework. To be eligible for CPT he student also must be in good academic standing ( not on academic probation) 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 met and students are responsible for knowing the different rule sets.

Students who have completed one semester of academic-year CPT (Fall or Spring) are ineligible for a second academic-year semester. They may still undertake Summer CPT up to the government/university limit.

CPT Approval

A graduate student who wishes to undertake a CPT must meet with the Graduate Program Coordinator with their CPT paperwork in hand during a drop-in advising session or a scheduled appointment. Eligibility will be verified by the department and a permission number for the course will be e-mailed to the student.

  • 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 must be made in writing 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.
To  learn about these rules and apply for CPT a the university level 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.