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Internship - CPT

There are two types of Practical TrainingCurricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training (and for those eligible there is STEM Extension OPT). 
This webpage will focus on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) specifically. To learn more about Optional Practical Training (OPT), please visit our OPT and STEM OPT website.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization granted to students whose training is “an integral part of an established curriculum” and "directly related to the student’s major area of study” such as an internship requirement [Federal Regulation 8CFR 214.2(f)(10)].


Student Eligibility

To be eligible for CPT authorization, students meet all of the following requirements:
  • The student must have been in lawful nonimmigrant status and enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (unless there is a graduate degree training requirement during the first year of enrollment); and
  • The student must currently be in F-1 status and have completed 1 semester at Marymount in F-1 status; and
  • The training program must be a requirement and an integral part of The student's degree program and is reflected as a course appearing on their academic transcript; and
  • The student must be making good academic progress toward degree completion and be eligible to graduate or enroll in the next semester; and
  • The student must be enrolled for a full course of study while engaging in CPT during required academic terms (fall, spring, and summer if last semester of program) unless authorized for a Reduced Course Load; and
  • The student must attend a mandatory CPT workshop prior to being authorized for CPT.

Position Eligibility

To be considered for CPT authorization, a training opportunity must meet all of the following requirements:
  • The student will be supervised by an expert who can serve as a mentor for the student’s learning and training experience; and
  • The position is directly related to the student’s major field of study and commensurate with the student’s level of study; and
  • The experience provides training that will allow the student to apply concepts learned in his/her degree program in a practical setting.

CPT Rules & Regulations

CPT Endorsement

International students on F-1 visas may not start participating in their internship until they have received the CPT I-20 and it is on or after the date listed on page 2 of the I-20.

If you begin working before receiving the I-20 or before the date listed on page 2, you will be in violation of F-1 regulations and at risk of losing legal status in the US.

Part-Time and Full-Time Hours

During academic semesters (fall, spring, and summer if last semester of study), only part-time CPT is permitted. The only exception is if the course requires full-time CPT authorization, as stated in the Marymount University catalog.  If the full-time CPT is a requirement, students must submit proof from the catalog when submitting their CPT application.

  • Part-time CPT: 20 hours per week or fewer
  • Full-time CPT: more than 20 hours per week

Note: Students may participate in both On Campus Employment and CPT simultaneously.  CPT is classified as Practical Training, not Employment, and is directly fulfilling an academic course requirement and may be a paid or unpaid position.  Students should follow the limitation of hours for CPT and On Campus Employment separately, not combined, i.e. in Spring participating in 20 hours of On Campus Employment and 20 hours of CPT.

Authorization Dates

Effective August 29, 2022:
CPT is tied to course enrollment, therefore CPT authorization aligns with the Marymount University academic calendar.
  • Students may be authorized to begin CPT as early as the day after grades are due in the previous semester.
  • CPT authorization will not exceed the date grades are due for the current semester during which a student participates in CPT.
    • An exception will be made for summer semesters as outlined in the table below, if the summer semester is not the final semester of study.

The table below depicts important CPT dates and deadlines for upcoming semesters:
  Application Open Application Deadline Earliest Day to Start Work Latest Day to End Work
Spring 2024 November 1, 2023 January 8, 2024 January 8, 2024 May 6, 2024
Summer 2024
Session I/III
April 1, 2024 May 13, 2024 May 13, 2024 July 29, 2024*
Summer 2024
Session II
April 1, 2024 June 24, 2024 June 24, 2024 July 29, 2024*
Fall 2024 July 1, 2024 August 26, 2024  August 26, 2024  December 16, 2024
* Do not start work before the CPT authorized start date on your I-20.
* If summer is the final semester of study, CPT authorization will end on the date grades are due in the final session (I, II, or III) of enrollment.

Course Enrollment

CPT authorization is contingent upon enrolling in an internship course, therefore students cannot withdraw from the course and continue with CPT authorization. 

If a student withdraws from the course, they may be: 
  • In violation of their F-1 status 
  • At risk of a Marymount University Honor Code violation 
  • At risk of having their CPT authorization cancelled

Changing CPT Authorization

CPT is position and date specific.  This means that students are only authorized to work for the employer during the dates listed on Page 2 of their I-20.
  • If a student must change their employer for any reason during the time of their CPT authorization, they must contact ISSS immediately before starting any new employment.
  • Once a CPT request is submitted, it is is considered final.  If a student needs to make updates to their request, they must contact ISSS immediately.
  • If a student wishes to extend their CPT authorization, a new CPT request must be submitted in the ISSS portal and must adhere to the dates listed above.

Application Procedures

There are different ways to obtain an internship and register for an internship course based on your education level and major area of study, however the process for CPT authorization remains the same for everyone.

All students: Allow 5-7 business days for ISSS to review and process your request. You cannot begin working until you have the authorized I-20. If you have additional questions, contact ISSS at 703-526-6922 or email

Step 1: Meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss your Academic Plan.

Students must be familiar with their degree plan and meet with their advisor to identify any internship course in their specific program of study. Students will work with their advisor to determine when the student will be eligible to register for that course throughout their degree so that they can start planning the search for the internship.  It is important to always plan ahead for CPT!

Step 2: Find an internship and receive an Offer Letter.

Finding an internship opportunity can be done in various ways.  Depending on your program, you may be placed in a position by your department or you may need to work with Career Development to find your internship through Handshake.  All students are required to have an Offer Letter or a Letter of Placement from their Department.

Requirements for an Offer Letter or Letter of Placement:
  • On company letterhead
  • States Name of Employer and Employer Address where student will be working
  • States start date (required) and end date (optional)
  • States number of hour to be worked per week

Step 3: Register for an Internship/Experiential Learning Course.

You may be required to work with another office to get registered in the internship course:
  • Undergraduate students working with Career Development: Complete the steps with Career Development required for you to register for the internship course.
  • Undergraduate students not working with Career Development: Work with your department to ensure internship course registration.
  • Graduate students: Work with your Academic Advisor to ensure internship course registration.

Step 4: Submit the CPT/Internship Request in the ISSS Portal.

After students are registered for the Internship class, they must report this internship to the ISSS office via the ISSS portal to receive CPT authorization. This reporting is required in order to get immigration approval for internship work and to be issued an updated I-20. Students must report their internship to ISSS and receive a new I-20 authorized for CPT regardless of if the internship is paid or unpaid. Students must have an I-20 issued to them before they start their internship to be in compliance with labor and immigration regulations.

To report the internship:
  1. Log into the ISSS portal & go to tab 4.
  2. Click on the briefcase icon titled Internship/CPT.
  3. Complete the Internship/CPT request form by filling out the fields.
  4. Upload proof of employment.
    • If you are working with Career Development, Proof of Employment is the Handshake-Approved Job Details Page
      1. Go to Handshake
      2. Click on the job details tab of your internship
      3. Save it as a PDF
      4. Upload the PDF
    • If you are not working with Career Development, Proof of Employment is an Offer Letter or Letter of Placement from your department
  5. Add Academic Advisor's name and email address.  The Academic Advisor will need to approve internship course enrollment.
  6. Click Submit.

After clicking submit, the Academic Advisor will receive an email inviting them to complete their portion of the CPT form.  Once they confirm that the experience is related to the student's degree, the request will be submitted to ISSS.

Step 5: ISSS reviews your request and issues your CPT I-20.

ISSS will review the request. If the request for CPT is approved, ISSS will update the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and generate a new I-20 indicating approval for this employment. The student will be notified of the approval and the I-20 will be uploaded to the ISSS Portal for the student to access and download.

Students may not start participating in the internship until they have received the CPT I-20 and it is on or after the date listed on page 2 of the I-20.