Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is defined as educational, “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school” [8 CFR § 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. The regulations state that CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

Curricular Practical Training is temporary authorization for work or practical experience that is available to SMU F-1 students who have been enrolled on a full-time basis in the degree that allows CPT work authorization for at least one academic year.
There are four ways under which CPT employment authorization can be authorized at SMU

  1. If your degree offers a for-credit internship course that requires employment.
  2. If your degree requires all students in a degree program to engage in practical experience that is directly related to the curriculum (i.e., Meadows Graduate Performance students).
  3. If you are part of a degree program that includes a Co-Op experience (Graduate Lyle students).
  4. If you are PhD student that is required to engage in work or a practicum experience that is considered an integral part of the graduate research for a thesis or dissertation.


  • All CPT applications must be submitted to the ISSS Office by the first day of classes.
  • All CPT applications require a complete CPT application form, proof of course registration, job offer letter, and a signed legal agreement between the employer and SMU.

Employment start and end date:

  • Employment will begin on the first day of classes and will end on the last day of classes for the semester the student is receiving CPT work authorization. Some employment start dates might begin as early as the Monday a week before the first day of classes. Some employment end dates might end after the last day of classes but no later than the Friday before the beginning of the next semester.
  • Meadows performance students can submit a CPT application throughout the semester as long as they are enrolled in a performance course that requires practical experience.


Academic Year 2022-2023

The completed application must submitted by the deadlines listed below:

Semester: Application due via Docusign: Employment Dates:
Spring 2022 Tuesday, January 11, 2022 January 10, 2022 - May 14, 2022
Summer 2022 Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Employment dates depend on the course.

For questions, please see an ISSS advisor.

Fall 2022 Monday, August 15, 2022 August 22, 2022 - December17, 2022 
Spring 2023 Monday, January 9, 2023 January 16, 2023 - May 13, 2023


All F-1 students who wish to gain practical experience off campus in a paid or unpaid position must have proper authorization from the ISSS Office before starting employment.



  • Visit the Hegi Family Career Center or your school Career Center and meet with a career coach about off-campus job opportunities.
  • When preparing to submit a CPT application, please make sure you have all of the following:
    • 1. Make sure you have met with your Academic Advisor/CPT coordinator to get approval and discuss any internal practices already in place.
    • 2. Have a job offer letter.
    • 3. Have contact information of your supervisor and the representative of your employer who has authority to sign a legal agreement. 
    • -This person can be, but is not limited to, your supervisor, a Human Resources representative, or the president of a company. 
    • 4. Be enrolled for the course that requires work authorization.
    • 5. Students who are applying for CPT based on a thesis/dissertation requirement, must attach a letter from their academic advisor stating how employment is directly related to thesis/dissertation. 
  • Submit your CPT application via DocuSign (link)
    • Please review tutorial for more information on how to submit the CPT Application via DocuSign.
  • Once you have submitted your CPT application, you can expect the following:
  1. The CPT coordinator will receive an email from DocuSign to sign and approve your application.
  2. Once the CPT coordinator has approved your application, the employer representative will receive an email from DocuSign to sign the legal agreement.
  3. Once the employer representative has signed, the ISSS Director will receive an email from DocuSign to sign the legal agreement on behalf of SMU.
  4. Once ISSS Director signs, the ISSS office will receive the completed CPT application for you.
  • If approved by the ISSS office, you will receive an email when your new CPT I-20 is ready. This process may take up to 7 business days. NOTE: You are not allowed to begin employment until you have received your new CPT I-20.
  • Pick up your I-20 and sign page 1. You will keep your original document and the ISSS office will keep a copy for our records.
  • Take new CPT I-20 to Human Resources of your new company.
  • Fill out a form I-9 and start working. Any days of work without authorization will be considered a violation of your status. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you must apply for one.

Internship Work Authorization information for Academic Advisors/CPT Coordinators