Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT and OPT? (PowerPoint)

What is CPT?
CPT is an employment option available to F-1 students if the practical training (or employment) is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program. According to the immigration regulations, this employment - either paid or unpaid - may be an internship, or any other work experience that is either required for your degree (as defined in the course catalogue), or for which academic credit is awarded. 

What are the eligibility requirements for CPT at MHC?

  1. The student must be maintaining valid F-1 status.
  2. The student must have been enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year.
  3. The employment must clearly be related to the student's major field of study. Students are not eligible for CPT until they have declared a major.
  4. CPT should not be utilized for a work experience or internship that is solely beneficial for career development
  5. You must be enrolled in the COLL 211 course or an independent study with practicum (either 295P or 395P) in the semester following your internship.  Failure to enroll in and complete the class will result in immediate violation of your legal status. It is the student's responsibility to fulfill all requirements of CPT.
  6. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more of full- time CPT, you will not be eligible for any type of optional practical training.
  7. Students who have already completed all requirements for their degree are not eligible for CPT.
  8. CPT can either be part-time or full-time based upon approval of the academic advisor and authorization by the McCulloch Center.
  9. Students may not enroll in the COLL 211 class more than once
  10. Students must obtain a separate endorsement for each CPT employer.
  11. The McCulloch Center has the right to deny a CPT request if there is not a clear connection to a student’s academic major.
  12.  While on CPT, you are not allowed to work as an independent contractor for an employer

Since CPT is authorized only if your employment is directly related to your declared major, you should first consult with your major advisor or a faculty member in your major department at Mount Holyoke to discuss whether your secured internship meets this requirement. You should then decide whether to enroll in an independent study with a practicum component (for academic credit) in which you reflect on how your internship/employment experience connects to your major, or whether you should take COLL 211f: Tying Curriculum to Career in the fall semester immediately following your internship experience.  Once you have found a faculty mentor at Mount Holyoke--required for supervision of an independent study with a practicum component--and you have secured employment/an internship, you will need to fill out the following application form:

Application for Curricular Practical Training with Educational Plan

After you have completed the application form, make an appointment to meet with Jenny Medina in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. Please make sure to bring both your completed CPT application form and your job offer letter to the appointment. The job offer letter must be on the employers letterhead (we can not accept emails from employers)and contain the job title, dates of employment, place of employment and supervisor's name for your internship. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized by the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and does not require approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) nor is there a fee. If we approve your CPT application, a new I-20 will be issued to you denoting employment authorization on page three. You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized. Any work undertaken after the expiration date of your CPT will be considered unauthorized employment.

VERY IMPORTANT:  If you are studying abroad immediately after your internship experience, you will not be able to take  COLL 211f.  Instead, you must sign up for the independent study with practicum component (295P or 395P) in the semester following your return from study abroad.  Students who do not complete and receive a grade for the required independent study or COLL 211f will not be able to apply for CPT again. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.