Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 students when the practical training employment is considered to be integral to or required of the curriculum or academic program.

The requirements to fulfill a course associated with a CPT authorization vary and can be up to the discretion of the faculty or department. Some examples of requirements could include papers relating to the internship experience, journal entries, positive report from internship supervisor, regular meetings, assignments, etc. The experience must be related to the student's major field of study. It cannot be in a declared minor or program.

Any student interested in pursuing CPT is encouraged to contact the ISSO and speak with an international student advisor about CPT rules and procedures.

At Brandeis, CPT eligibility is based on the following:
  • You have declared a major (undergraduates). 
  • You have been enrolled full-time for two consecutive semesters (unless all students in your program must pursue an internship in the first or second semester).
  • The employment (usually an internship or practicum) is a degree requirement of all students in the program or major. OR,
  • You will receive elective credit toward fulfilling your degree or program requirements for the proposed CPT employment.

Students must obtain an internship or employment offer before applying for CPT, but may not begin working until after CPT has been authorized. During required semesters (that are not vacation semesters), students are required to be enrolled full-time and can only work part-time (20 hours or less per week) under CPT. The proposed start date can be as early as the first day of class and no later than the enrollment deadline.

Per the University Bulletin, undergraduate students may not receive more than a total of 16 credits from internship courses during their undergraduate career.

In a student’s final semester, CPT can only be authorized through the last day of final exams published in the university Academic Calendar.

CPT authorization is not needed for on-campus employment. See on-campus employment information for more information.

Employment (Paid and Unpaid)

Employment is defined as any situation where one party provides services that benefit another, and in exchange receives some type of benefit from the party to whom the services were provided. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor consider both monetary and non-monetary compensation in exchange for services as employment. Thus, both paid and unpaid positions are considered "employment" and will need authorization before the start date of the work experience. All off-campus employment requires authorization. Failure to obtain proper authorization, even for an unpaid position, can result in a violation of status.

Under very narrow circumstances students may participate in limited unpaid volunteer activities without employment authorization (i.e., volunteering at a service or humanitarian organization).  If you are interested in volunteering, more detailed information may be found in the Volunteering section of our website. Before volunteering, please consult the ISSO to find out if authorization is required.

CPT Employment Dates for AY 2020-2021

Winter 2020-21: 

Undergraduate Students: If your internship begins before December 4, 2020, you may participate in a winter internship while enrolled in a Fall 2020 internship course. As this option may include late-enrolling in an internship course, you must seek and receive approval from your academic or program advisor. If you are enrolled in a Spring 2021 internship course and wish to engage in an internship over winter break, your internship must begin on or after December 21, 2020 to allow time for the course registration to appear in your Sage record.  

Graduate Students:  Please work with your program to determine if fall or spring registration works best for your particular situation.  You must be registered for a course associated with the internship in order for the ISSO to issue I-20 with CPT authorization.

Please note, since course registration is tied to F-1 status for internships, students who engaged in winter CPT will not be permitted to drop the spring internship course without also losing their immigration status.

Spring 2021: February 1, 2021 through May 14, 2021

Summer 2021: May 15, 2021 through August 25, 2021

These dates are based on the Academic Calendar as it stands in July 2020 and is published by the University Registrar. Dates are subject to change. 

 Fall 2021: August 26, 2021 through January 17, 2022

Submit a CPT Request

You must submit your CPT online application request before your CPT begins.

Note: You must first be SEVIS registered before ISSO can process your CPT.

To apply for CPT, please click on the ISSO Portal button in the sidebar to log in and submit a CPT Request.

Once approved, your CPT employment recommendation will be submitted to SEVIS and a new I-20 with CPT authorization on page 2 will be issued to you within 10 business days. You will receive an email from the ISSO as soon as your CPT I-20 is ready.

Present this new I-20, along with your passport and I-94 record, as proof of employment authorization to your employer.

A Note of Caution to F-1 Students: Do not begin any off-campus employment (paid or unpaid) without first obtaining employment authorization from the ISSO. Working off-campus without obtaining employment authorization is a serious violation of F-1 student status.