CPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option available to F-1 visa students when the practical training employment is an integral part of the curriculum and degree program. The CPT regulations are strict therefore the use of CPT is very limited at UC Merced. For more information on eligibility, read below and view the CPT powerpoint.

Eligibility Requirements

To obtain CPT, a student must:

  • Must have been in valid F-1 immigration status for at least one academic year or two consecutive semesters.
  • Must have a job offer related to your field of study and the employment/training must be integral to the student's degree program.
  • Must obtain CPT authorization from an International Student and Scholar (ISS) advisor and faculty advisor BEFORE beginning employment.
  • Must be registered in course related to CPT employment - Obtain CRN from your Department. If applying for summer CPT, register for 12 Week Summer Session D.
  • Form I-20 is shown to the employer as evidence of work authorization.

There is no limit to the amount of CPT a student is eligible for. However, if 12 months or more of full-time CPT is used, a student will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Accrual of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

CPT is not available after a student completes the degree program.

Types of CPT

1) Degree Requirement

CPT may be authorized when an internship is a requirement of a degree program (i.e. all students in the program must complete an internship to obtain the degree).

Authorization can be for full-time or part-time employment, depending on the academic department's requirement.

2) Course Credit

CPT may be authorized for students who enroll in a course that requires employment to earn a grade, or a course where students design their own research project based on the employment. Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the employment.

Authorization will be granted on a semester-only basis. However, if a student wishes to work for a period longer than the last day of the semester, s/he must enroll in the next available semester before authorization can be extended beyond the current term.

Part Time/ Full Time Status

Employment is limited to part-time (20 hrs/week or less) during the Fall and Spring semesters. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible for full-time employment during the semester as long as the employment is integral to their degree program.

Students will only be eligible for full-time CPT under the two circumstances below.

1) It is the summer term  OR
2) The student is a Ph.D. student who has advanced to candidacy AND does not have a TA and GSR appointment on campus AND not on filing fee status (all must be true).

Application Process 

  • Complete and have your faculty advisor sign the CPT Request Form
  • Enroll in the appropriate course as required.
  • Submit the above request form along with proof of course enrollment to ISSO.
  • Pick up your new Form I-20 at the International Center three business days after submitting your application.