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Curricular Practical Training

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.
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.
  • Meet with your academic department’s CPT Coordinator.
    • a. Bring CPT application form and a job offer letter to your CPT coordinator and complete the form.
    • b. Enroll for CPT course.
  • Bring the following documents to the ISSS Office and meet with an International Services Specialist:
    • a. CPT Application Form Signed
    • b. Job Offer Letter
    • c. Copy of Legal Agreement (CPT coordinator will facilitate obtaining the legal agreement)
  • ISSS Advisor will email you 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 the Office of Human Resources in 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.