Curricular Practical Training for Undergraduates

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as an educational, alternative work/study program, such as internships, co-ops or any other type of required practicum, which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. The regulations state that CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

CPT is a temporary authorization for work or practical experience that is available to Lyle students who have an F-1 visa and have been enrolled at SMU on a full-time basis. All F-1 students who wish to gain off-campus real-world experience, in a paid or unpaid position, must have proper authorization from the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) Office. 

Lyle CPT Classes

ENGR 8199 (graduate co-op)
ENGR 1199 (undergraduate co-op)

Application & Process

  • Visit the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership and meet with a career coach about off-campus job opportunities.
  • Complete the required CPT application form, proof of course registration, job offer letter, and a signed legal agreement between the employer and SMU.
  • Submit all CPT applications to the ISSS Office by the first day of classes.

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DocuSign Process

  • Once a CPT application has been submitted, the CPT coordinator will receive an email to sign and approve the application.
  • Then the student’s future employer will receive an email to sign the legal agreement.
  • The ISSS Director will also receive an email to sign on behalf of SMU.
  • Once all signatures have been executed, students will receive a copy of the approved CPT application.

Final Steps

  • If approved by the ISSS office, students receive an email when the new CPT I-20 form is ready. This process may take up to 7 business days.
  • Pick up the I-20 and sign where indicated on Page 1, then keep the original document. The ISSS office will also keep a copy for their records.
  • Take the new CPT I-20 to the Human Resources department of their new company.
  • Fill out a form I-9 and start working. Any days of work without authorization will be considered a violation of the student’s status.

Students are not allowed to begin employment until they have received a new CPT I-20.
If students do not have a Social Security Number, they must apply for one.

Employment Dates

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.