Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization available to F-1 students. It is an opportunity for F-1 students to participate in off-campus employment during their program of study to gain practical experience in their major field of study. The employment/training must be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum and relate directly to the student’s major field of study. This means that the student must be enrolled in an appropriate internship course, or the internship is required for the degree program.
Employment (Paid and Unpaid)

Employment (Paid and Unpaid) 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 of the work experience.

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.

Failure to obtain proper authorization, even for an unpaid position, can result in a violation of status.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time

During the academic year (required semesters), CPT is limited to part-time (no more than 20 hours per week) and you must continue to be enrolled as a full-time student. Full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week) is generally available to students only during the summer break or vacation semester. 

For graduate students, Ph.D. candidates may pursue full-time CPT when they are in their dissertation stage if approved by their Faculty Advisor.
Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate F-1 students must register for an internship course concurrently while participating in the proposed employment to be eligible for CPT. At Brandeis, there are several internship course options for undergraduate students after they have completed 2 semesters in F-1 status and declared a major.

Fall/Spring Semesters

  • Department 89 or 92 Courses: These courses may be available within various departments for students with declared major(s). For example, a business major student can take BUS 89; an anthropology major student can take ANTH 92; a psychology major student can take PSYC 92, etc.

    • If you have more than one major, you can enroll in an internship course for either major based on the type of employment you would like to pursue.  For example, if a student who majors in Fine Arts and Computer Science would like to do an internship in Computer Science, they will need to register for COSI 89/92. 
    • If there is not an internship course in your department listed in the Course Bulletin, students can contact their department to see if they are eligible to add a 92 course.

    • Economics Majors:  Per department requirements, students majoring in Economics should enroll in BUS 89 for CPT. 

  • Department Course 93 or Department Course 99: This course is available for students who may need to do an internship for their thesis or an independent study.  Please contact your  ISSO Advisor to see if you may need to apply for CPT when you take Department Course 93 or Department Course 99 (i.e. NEUR 93a, BIOL 99).
Summer Semester
  • INT 92g: This course is offered every summer for internship opportunities

  • INT 89a/b:  This course is available to students who have already completed Department 89 or 92 courses.  For example, if a student majoring in Politics has completed POL 89 and wants to do an internship, they can take INT 89. INT 89 is not available for those who have not completed the Department 89 or 92 courses. 

Graduate Students

Each graduate school department at Brandeis has different requirements that will affect eligibility for CPT.  Students must register for the appropriate internship/practicum course concurrently while participating in the proposed employment to be eligible for CPT. Contact your Program/Faculty Advisor for recommendations for the appropriate courses (i.e. BUS 297, HS 230, COSI 293, BIOT 293).

Ph.D. students working on their dissertation may be eligible for CPT if the training/employment is an integral component of the dissertation.

Non-Degree Seeking Students 

CPT cannot be used for non-degree programs or a Post Baccalaureate Program