Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a legal means by which F-1 students can obtain off-campus employment when the experience is considered to be an integral part of the student’s course of study. CPT can take the form of a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or other experience which is required for the major, or where course credit is granted. The objective of CPT is not financial but is to gain practical experience that is integral to your course of study. Students can use only up to 12 months of CPT during their time at Harvey Mudd.


You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year (9 months), currently be in F-1 status, and demonstrate that the internship/experience is integral to your course of study. In addition, you may not have previously used more than twelve months of full-time curricular practical training.

When to Apply

You must apply for CPT before your internship begins.

Applying for CPT

First, make an appointment to see DSO to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, then you will need to provide the necessary materials:

  • Letter from organization – Letter should be on organization letterhead and have start and end dates for what you will be doing. Email from official email address also acceptable (but should not be from a yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. domain)
  • CPT form signed by your academic advisor

Once you have provided these things, DSO will print out an updated CPT I-20 for you.

Things to Consider

  • Make sure you let the DSO know ahead of time that you are planning to do this internship, and you have enough time to work out details with your faculty adviser and get approved before the internship starts.
  • Keep your updated CPT I-20 safe. If you use CPT multiple times, please make sure to save all I-20s. You may need them later if you decide to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Keep track of the amount of time you use for CPT. Get in touch with the DSO if you are approaching 12 months total while enrolled at Harvey Mudd.