Advising International Students on Summer Internships and Research
What is 295P/395P?
In 2006, the faculty approved 295P and 395P as an independent study option. Independent work with a practicum component in a professional or volunteer setting, and a substantial academic component supervised by a Mount Holyoke faculty member, may be designated 295P (Practicum) or 395P (Practicum). When the practicum takes place during the summer or January, the bulk of the credit-bearing work will normally take place during the following semester. Practicum designation requires consultation with a faculty member prior to commencement of the practicum. Independent work with a practicum component is governed by the same policies as all other independent work. Courses with practicum components bearing the word Practicum in their title may qualify international students with an F-1 visa for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
What is CPT?
Because of immigration regulations, international students are not allowed to work off campus unless they are approved to do either Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Students must pay a $340.00 fee and be approved by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to do OPT, and students are limited to a total of 12 months of OPT to use during or immediately after their undergraduate studies. The McCulloch Center approves students to do CPT and there is no cost to the student. There is also no limit on the number of times a student may apply to do CPT during her undergraduate career as long as she does not exceed 12 months or more of full time CPT. According to immigration regulations, the employment may be a paid (or unpaid) internship, or any other work experience which is directly related to the student’s declared major and for which academic credit is awarded.
When an international student has secured a paid internship, she should consult a faculty member in her major department to discuss the possibility of doing an independent study with a practicum component (for at least one academic credit). After the student has found a faculty member to serve as her independent study faculty mentor, the student must complete the CPT application form available on the McCulloch Center website. The application form includes a brief description of the nature of the student’s independent project, paper or performance in the fall, and it has to be signed by the faculty mentor. Faculty mentors have no obligation to agree to any terms set forth by the company or organization sponsoring the student’s internship.