What is Curricular Practical Training?

“Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.” (ICE.gov)

F-1 students who have completed at least one full academic year as a lawful, full-time student (12 units or more) can apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT employment is considered an academic experience and needs to be integral to the student’s field of study or career goals. CPT will show up as one unit (Pass/No Pass) on your transcript but it does not count towards full-time status or graduation.


  • In order to qualify, you must be at least a second-year international student (fall of your second year) and in good academic standing (2.0 GPA).
  • You can do 5 CPT’s total with SUA and part-time CPT will not stop your ability to apply for Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) after you graduate (unless you do 12 months or more of full-time CPT).
  • You may only do 1 CPT per semester or summer. CPT is generally only granted for in-person internships because they require a meaningful immersion into a professional environment and close supervision for learning purposes.

How do I get started?

If you are interested, start looking for a relevant position that can be full-time over the summer or part-time (20 hours per week or less) during the school year. Jonathan Wray in the Soka University Career Development Office can help you with that. Since you receive one academic unit for your CPT, you also need to contact the Faculty CPT Coordinator, Professor Monika Calef, for the syllabus and to develop your unique learning objectives which serve as a guide for the internship.


In order to meet all the visa requirements, CPT requires a string of approvals and signatures. This includes a brief justification (250 words) why this position is important to your program of study as well as two or three learning objectives. This is signed off by your prospective employer, the Career Development Office, the Faculty CPT Coordinator, and the Dean of Faculty.

The registrar, Nancy Yoshimura, will then register you for one unit of CPT; and the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) in the International Student Services Office, Margaret Kasahara, will issue you a new CPT-endorsed I-20 form. You may begin your CPT employment only after you have obtained your I-20 with CPT authorization.

CPT is authorized on a semester-by-semester basis for a specific time frame and a specific employer. Each semester requires a new CPT authorization, even if it is with the same employer. You may not begin working before the start date or continue working after the end date listed on your I-20. The CPT dates on your I-20 must exactly match the dates listed on your offer letter.


The deadline for registering for spring/fall semester CPT is the semester Add/Drop date and the last day of spring semester classes for summer CPT. Please allow at least 2-3 weeks to assemble all the paperwork, collect all the required signatures and to be issued a new CPT-endorsed Form I-20.

Yay, I have been approved, now what?

It is critical that you do not start your internship until this new I-20 has been issued. Since you receive one academic unit for your CPT, you will need to provide weekly updates and a brief report when it is completed that addresses how your internship helped you achieve your learning objectives. Once you successfully complete the CPT and turn in the academic requirements, you will pass the course.

If you have questions, please contact either the Career Development Office or Prof. Monika Calef.