Basics of CPT

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization for students on F-1 visas where the work is an integral part of the student's curriculum. In other words, CPT is authorization for you to work off campus in a job directly related to your UMN major. CPT may only be used before you complete your UMN degree program. As you near completion of your UMN degree, you should consider applying for OPT authorization.

If you are a student in J-1 status, please see ISSS information about Academic Training.

How do I know I am eligible to apply for CPT?

To be eligible to apply for CPT, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Have completed two semesters of full-time study (one academic year) before the CPT start date
  • Have an internship/practicum/job offer that is directly related to your major
  • Have not completed your UMN degree

You are not eligible for full-time CPT if you have received an extension of your I-20. Part-time CPT is possible.

Do I apply for CPT before or after I have been interviewed and offered a specific internship/practicum?

You will apply for CPT in MyISSS after you receive an offer, but before you begin working. You will need an offer with specific details that are explained in the Applying for CPT section of this website.

CPT authorization is for a specific employer and specific period of time. ISSS needs these details in order to grant your CPT authorization on a new I-20. You must have this new I-20 with CPT authorization in order to begin working.

Types of CPT

There are three different types of CPT at the University of Minnesota. Elective is the most common. Required and Co-op are for specific majors only.

Most UMN majors do not require any practical experience as a degree requirement. Students who are not required to do an internship will apply for the Elective type of CPT.

Internships may be paid or unpaid.


  • Elective CPT is the most common type of CPT.
  • This type of CPT is requested if you are doing an internship or job to gain practical experience in your major/field of study but you are not required to do it as part of your degree requirements.


  • This type of CPT is used when the internship or practicum is required for all students in your major/field of study prior to degree completion.


  • Co-ops are for Engineering majors in the College of Science and Engineering.
  • This type of CPT is used when there is a documented agreement between a UMN department or college and an off-campus organization.
  • You must be admitted to the co-op program in your major before you can apply for CPT.

Ready to apply?

After you receive a job offer, you need a minimum of two weeks in order to obtain CPT authorization.

Learn more about the application process.

Last updated: May 12, 2023