Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students. It is an opportunity to participate in a paid position off campus in your field of study during the time you are pursuing your degree. It must be an integral part of the established curriculum for a program of study. Unpaid internships or volunteer positions do not require CPT authorization. 

General instructions:

  • CPT forms are to be emailed directly to ISPO to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu
  • Only complete CPT applications should be sent to this email
  • Questions about CPT should be directed to iemployment@ucsd.edu or students may come into walk in advising Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

 

You can find specific instructions below:

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must fulfill all of the following criteria:
  • For CPT, F-1 regulations require that students must have been enrolled on a full time basis for at least one academic year on the same SEVIS number.
    • You may use time spent in another institution as long as you were enrolled full time and did a timely SEVIS transfer using the same SEVIS number. If you want CPT during your first year at UC San Diego, we will need proof of your full time enrollment from your previous institution, such as a transcript as well as a copy of your I-20.
    • You may use time spent in another immigration status (e.g., E-2, H-4) as long as you were enrolled full time for one academic year.
  • Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the requested date of the CPT.
  • Your I-20 should have a completion date beyond your requested CPT end date.

Undergraduate Students: CPT requirements

  1. The employment must be an integral part of the curriculum, that is, you must get academic credit. Thus, you will need to enroll in (and pay tuition for) a course that will give you credit.  Not all majors offer courses that meet the CPT course requirements; students should check with their major department to see if a course is available or with the Academic Internship Program (AIP).
    • Typical course numbers for undergraduates are 191, 196, 197, 198 or 199
    • If you are enrolling in AIP197, you may submit the AIP Learning Agreement in place of signature on the CPT Request Form.
  2. CPT is only authorized during a course of study; it cannot be used after completing your program.
  3. Students must be enrolled full time during the term CPT is requested or have an approved Reduced Course Load Form.
  4. A job offer in your field of study is required. See our sample job offer letter.
  5. Part time employment up to 20 hours/week during fall, winter, and spring quarters must be within the dates of the quarter.
    • Fall 2017: September 28, 2017 to December 16, 2017
    • Winter 2018: January 8, 2018 to March 24, 2018
    • Spring 2018: April 2, 2018 to June 15, 2018
  1. Full time employment (over 20 hours/week) can be done during summer, winter and spring breaks.
    • Winter break: December 17, 2017 to January 7, 2018
    • Spring break: March 25, 2018 to April 1, 2018
    • Summer 2018: June 16, 2018 to September 26, 2018

Graduate Students: CPT requirements

  1. The employment must be an integral part of the curriculum:
    • During the academic year, you must enroll in (and pay tuition for) a course that will give you credit. Not all departments offer courses that meet the CPT course requirements; students should check with their department to see if a course is available. Typical course numbers for graduates are 291, 297, 298 and 299.
    • During summer, graduate students may participate in the Cooperative Education Program which is an
      agreement between the student, the faculty advisor and the employer that the student will work towards specific goals that would otherwise meet the requirements of a course for credit. Thus, no summer enrollment is required, but the student must intend to enroll in the following fall quarter.  A report is due by the start date of fall quarter.
  2. CPT is only authorized during a course of study; it cannot be used after completing your program.
  3. Students must be enrolled full time during the term CPT is requested or have an approved Reduced Course Load Form. You may not do CPT while on “filing fee status.”
  4. A job offer in your field of study is required. See our sample job offer letter.
  5. Part time employment up to 20 hours/week during fall, winter, and spring quarters must be within the dates of the quarter.
    • Fall 2017: September 28, 2017 to December 16, 2017
    • Winter 2018: January 8, 2018 to March 24, 2018
    • Spring 2018: April 2, 2018 to June 15, 2018
  1. Full time employment (over 20 hours/week) can be done during summer, winter and spring breaks. Full time employment during the academic year is also available to graduate students who have advanced to candidacy.
    • Winter break: December 17, 2017 to January 7, 2018
    • Spring break: March 25, 2018 to April 1, 2018
    • Summer 2018: June 16, 2018 to September 26, 2018*

*Be sure that TA and GSR responsibilities do not conflict with summer employment dates.

  1. Students who participate in full-time CPT for one year or more will NOT be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Participation in part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.  Graduate students who do full time CPT will need to keep track of their time to assure they do not go over 365 days if they want to apply for OPT.
  2. Graduate students who participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program must submit a report by the start of fall quarter.

Apply for CPT

Follow these steps to apply for CPT:

  1. Check with your major department to make sure there is an appropriate course to enroll in.
  2. Obtain a job offer letter from the employer. See our sample job offer letter.
  3. Enroll in appropriate course. Your enrollment must show on Tritonlink when you submit your application forms.
  4. Complete the CPT Request FormPlease be aware that you will be asked if you have a SSN, which refers to a social security number, which is required for a paid position. For more information about the SSN and how to apply, please see our SSN webpage.
  5. Retrieve electronic copy of I-94 for last entry to U.S.
  6. Scan (or photo) and send the following documents to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu. In the subject line, write “CPT Request, Your last name, Your first name.”
    • CPT Request Form: be sure requested dates exactly match ones on the job offer letter)
    • Job offer letter: be sure it is on “letterhead”, has start date and end date and number of hours
    • I-94: be sure to print out from last entry to U.S. and it says “D/S”
    • Summer Cooperative Education Program form: if graduate student applying for summer CPT, be sure to write a detailed description of the job responsibilities.

Important points to remember:

  • Before authorizing CPT, we will verify that you are enrolled in the course that you indicate on the CPT Request FormDo NOT send the documents until the registration shows up on your Tritonlink academic history.
  • CPT authorization is issued on a new I-20 form.
  • Processing time is up to 10 business days. However, incomplete forms will be delayed and may not be processed within 10 business days.
  • Employment may not commence until the CPT is authorized.
  • Under no circumstance will CPT be backdated.

Changes to CPT (Dates, Employer, Cancellation)

Extending CPT to next quarter

Post-Cooperative Education Report for GRADUATE Students

Social Security and Taxes

Social Security Number

All persons must have a Social Security number to be employed in the US. This is not the Campus ID number assigned by UCSD. To apply for a Social Security number, you will need to present an [application form], valid passport, I-94, I-20, job offer letter from your employer, and an enrollment verification letter from the International Center to any local Social Security office. The nearest office to UCSD is located in downtown San Diego. Visit www.ssa.gov to find the nearest Social Security office to you.

Taxes

Students in F-1 status are exempt from Social Security tax (FICA), however they are generally subject to federal and state income taxes. Tax forms are available from February through April of each year. Check the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov for federal tax information and the CA Franchise Tax Board at www.ftb.ca.gov for California tax information.

Please visit the IFSO tax information page, here, for some basic tax information.

Contact Us

Send application materials to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu.  New CPT I-20’s will be ready within 10 business days if the application is complete.

Send questions regarding CPT to iemployment@ucsd.edu. Please allow for 2-5 business days (not including weekends) for an advisor to review your message and respond.