Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of work authorization that allows F-1 international students to participate in paid off-campus academic internships during their degree program. The purpose of CPT is academic, not just for employment purposes, and the internship must be considered an integral part of a student’s degree program.

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Eligibility Requirements

Valid F-1 Student Status
  • Must have properly maintained F-1 status each semester.
  • Must be full-time enrolled for the semester they wish to pursue the CPT. The only exception to this is during student’s final semester. Refer to the “Hours of Employment” section for details. Students who were granted CPT but subsequently drop below the full course load will need to stop working immediately and notify OIS of this change.
  • Students must successfully complete all internship courses to be eligible for current and future CPT authorizations.
  • During USC’s period of online instruction due to COVID-19, students are allowed to work remotely at home in the U.S. or abroad if the employer requests it.
  • Students must have been in F-1 student status for at least one academic year in a degree-seeking program before they can apply for CPT. There are two exceptions to this regulation.
    1. Students who attended another school in the U.S. as an F-1 student and transferred their SEVIS record to USC. These students must submit copies of their previous school’s I-20 and official transcripts to for review.
      • Students cannot use CPT as a way to continue OPT/STEM OPT employment that has since ended. CPT must be an integral part of the new degree program’s established curriculum. Therefore, students who transfer to USC upon completion of OPT/STEM OPT or during a period of OPT/STEM OPT at previous school must wait at least one semester to apply for CPT at USC.
    2. Students who are enrolled in degree programs that require an internship or practicum hours in their first year to fulfill degree requirements and is stated as such in the USC Catalogue. Students in the following master’s degree programs DO NOT need to fulfill the one academic year requirement in order to apply for CPT (list subject to change without prior notice):
Annenberg: Global CommunicationMarshall: IBEAR MBA
Cinematic Arts: Peter Stark ProgramPrice: Urban Planning
Dornsife: Applied Behavior AnalysisPrice: Health Administration
Dornsife: Applied PsychologyPrice: Public Administration (Pre-service designation only)
Keck: Physical TherapySuzanne Dworak-Peck: Social Work
Marshall: Business AnalyticsViterbi/Keck: Wireless Health Technology
Must have internship offer
  • Students must have a specific job/internship offer.
  • Job must be related to student’s major.
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Internship Course Registration

  • Students must register for an internship course or a class that requires an internship at USC during the semester they wish to do CPT. Successful completion of the course is required to be considered for future CPT authorizations.
  • Students who are enrolled in degree programs that require an internship or practicum hours to fulfill degree requirements (must be stated as such in the USC Catalogue) are exempt from registering in an internship course for CPT purposes. Students in the following master’s degree programs DO NOT need to register for an internship course in order to apply for CPT (list subject to change without prior notice):
    Cinematic Arts: Peter Stark Program Price: Health Administration
    Keck: Physical Therapy Price: Public Administration
    Price: Urban Planning Ostrow: Advanced Pediatric Dentistry
  • Selecting the appropriate internship course
    • Graduate Students:
      • Students must register for the internship course that is offered by their academic department. They can submit the completed Request for D-Clearance Form to their department staff advisor for review.
        • Graduate engineering students: register for the appropriate ENGR course. Viterbi students must follow the CPT instructions on the Viterbi Career Connections (VCC) website.
        • Graduate business students: Register for ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, DSO, FBE, MKT, or MOR 595. Visit Marshall’s website for additional information and the registration application form.
    • Undergraduate Students:
      • Register for MDA 250, a general internship class through USC Dornsife (unless academic department has a specific internship course).
Please note:
  • USC Language Academy students are not eligible for CPT.
  • If the internship is an unpaid or volunteer position, CPT is not required. Students CANNOT accept any kind of compensation for work performed in an unpaid internship. Please check with the employer to ensure labor laws are not being violated with this type of arrangement.
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Hours of Employment

  • During Fall and Spring semesters
    • Students may work part-time (up to 20 hours per week).
      • Non-Ph.D. students can work part-time on campus up to 20 hours and part-time on CPT simultaneously.
        • Example:  Students can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus and additionally up to 20 hours per week on part-time CPT or over 21 hours per week on full-time CPT so long as the work does not interfere with academic progress.
      • Ph.D. students who have a 50% RA/TA/GA/fellowship are not eligible for CPT during fall and spring semesters.
    • Full-time (20+ hours per week) CPT may be authorized for Ph.D. or master’s students who are registered in only thesis or dissertation units (such as 594/794).
  • During Summer sessions
    • Students may work full-time.
    • Students may be registered for internship unit(s) only and still be able to maintain student status.
  • During final semester
    • Students can work full-time with department approval, but they must have part-time enrollment and indicate that they are in their final semester on the CPT request. Part time is defined as:
      • Undergraduate: 6 units or less
      • Graduate students: 4 units or less total or one final class. If one final class, the total combined units, including the CPT credit, cannot be more than 5 units (Ex. 4-unit class + 1- unit of ENGR 596)
    • Students can work part-time on-campus as well as full-time CPT simultaneously.
      • Ph.D. students who have a 50% RA/TA/GA/fellowship are not eligible for CPT during fall and spring semesters.
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Duration of Authorization

CPT authorization is given on a semester basis and students must apply separately for each semester they wish to do CPT. CPT is only authorized for the dates of the specific semester. CPT I-20 start dates will be listed either as the requested start date or the approval date, whichever is later. Restrictions on end dates may occur based on the start of RA/TA positions. Program extensions will not be granted for the purpose of CPT. Current start and end dates for CPT are below (dates not guaranteed).

  Spring 2024 Summer 2024 Fall 2024
If this is your final semesterJan 8 – May 10May 13 – Aug 6 Aug 26 – Dec 18
If this is NOT your final semesterJan 8 – May 10May 13 – Aug 23Aug 26 –


CPT does not interfere with students’ eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation unless they have done a total of 12 months full-time CPT during their degree program. In this case, they would lose the option to do OPT. Amounts under the 12 months full-time DO NOT cancel any portion of OPT.

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CPT Application Process

Click here for CPT I-20 Request Form
Click here for CPT I-20 Request Form (Viterbi Students)

  1. Student secures an internship offer.
  2. Student enrolls in a full course load or indicates that they are in their final semester on the CPT request
  3. Student registers for internship course, if applicable. If D-Clearance is required, the student will register after Step 5 is completed.
  4. Student completes the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) I-20 Request Form and attaches internship offer letter for review by their Academic Advisor/Internship Coordinator.
  5. Academic Advisor/Internship Coordinator signs CPT I-20 Request Form and gives D-Clearance (if applicable) for internship course registration
  6. OIS emails electronically signed CPT authorization I-20 to the student within four business days.
    • CPT authorization and employment information will be annotated on page 2 or 3 of the CPT I-20
    • Student must review CPT authorization to ensure accuracy
  7. If the student does not have a Social Security Number (SSN), they should visit the Social Security Administration Office at 1122 W Washington Blvd #201, Los Angeles, CA 90015  (800) 772-1213 with their employment letter, CPT I-20 and passport.
  8. Student begins working on CPT.
    • Student may not begin working until s/he has received the CPT I-20 from OIS and the employment start date has been reached
  • CPT application deadline is the last/add-drop date of each semester unless student is able to add the internship course with special permission—at the discretion of academic department.
  • CPT authorization is employer-specific and is valid for the student’s current employer only. If the student changes jobs, s/he will need to apply for a new CPT authorization.
  • Students must keep all original copies of CPT I-20s as they will be required for future USCIS applications such as OPT, H1Bs, and permanent residency.
  • Working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of F1 status
  • Contact OIS for questions regarding CPT.
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