For enrolled students wishing to gain work experience related to their academic program, Curricular Practical Training is the most common option. Curricular Practical Training is employment which is an “integral” or important part of the curriculum for your major field of study, including:
  • alternate work/study
  • internship
  • other required internship or practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with UAB

Eligibility Requirements: A student may qualify for CPT participation if they are currently enrolled, will receive academic credit for the employment experience and if it is considered an important part of their curriculum by their academic advisor. CPT must occur before a student completes their program of study. ISSS can evaluate each student’s particular situation and make certain the employment meets CPT requirements. To apply, students must submit the following:
  • Offer letter from potential employer
  • Letter from Academic Advisor confirming mandatory requirement for internship
  • Proof of registration for an internship or co-op course

ISSS will assess the student’s eligibility and endorse the Form I-20 for either part-time or full-time CPT. *Please know that students on CPT who have additional on-campus employment are still limited to a total of 20 hours of employment per week during academic semesters.*


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the approval process for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

First, ISSS confirms that a student is eligible for CPT. Students must complete two semesters of their academic program and the work experience must be integral to their program of study (Graduate students that are required to obtain work experience during their first or second semester may meet with ISSS to discuss waiving the one year enrollment requirement). Pathway and Academic English students are not eligible for CPT. However, students may count their time in the Pathway program towards the two semesters required to be eligible for CPT.

Eligible students must then submit the following to ISSS before CPT will be approved:

  • A job offer letter that includes: the employer’s address, supervisor’s name, employment dates, identifying the position as full-time or part-time, and a brief job description. The letter should be on company letterhead
  • A signed letter from your academic advisor confirming the employment is part of your curriculum the internship course number, job description, start and end dates, and whether the job is full time or part time
  • Proof of registration in internship or practicum hours

What kinds of classes do I register for in order to receive CPT authorization?

The most common types of credit hours for CPT approval are:

  • Internship hours
  • Practicum hours
  • Dissertation hours (PhD students only)
  • Practical Work Experience
  • Co-op Education hours

Contact your academic advisor to inquire about specific work experience or internship hours available in your program of study.

When should I apply for CPT?

Students should apply for CPT at least 1-2 weeks before they are scheduled to begin the training or internship program. ISSS approves CPT on a semester basis, but students can start or complete their work experience within a one week window before an academic semester begins and one week after it ends.

Students who require CPT for another semester must complete the approval process again with a new offer letter, new advisor recommendation, and register again for credit hours.

I have an on campus job, can I still request CPT?

Yes, but if you wish to do CPT during an academic semester (most often fall and spring) your total work hours for both jobs must not exceed 20 hours. However, during a vacation semester, full time CPT can be approved and students can legally work more than 20 hours.

Is full time CPT an option?

As stated previously, full time CPT can be approved during a vacation semester. PhD students enrolled in dissertation hours who need off campus work authorization to complete vital research for their dissertation may also qualify for full time CPT. Please schedule an appointment with ISSS to discuss your situation.

Are there restrictions on the number of times I can request CPT?

Students who accumulate 12 months or more of full time CPT are ineligible to apply for Optional Practical Training. That is the only limit specifically stated in the regulations regarding CPT. However, CPT is meant for internships or practical work experience required or integral to your degree program and you must always receive academic credit towards your degree. CPT cannot be used to fill employment gaps until post-completion OPT begins.

Current students wishing to pursue employment that will not count towards their degree program should apply for pre-completion OPT.