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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum. At Stanford, there are two scenarios which qualify students for CPT:

  1. The employment must be a requirement of the degree program. In this case, you may or may not receive academic credit. The CPT endorsement must be issued by Bechtel International Center during the same quarter as the internship period.
  2. In cases where the practical internship is not a requirement, the department must offer a CPT course for which the student receives academic credit. The CPT course must be offered during the same quarter as the internship period. Failure to enroll in and complete the class will result in violation of your legal status.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. You must maintain valid F-1 D/S status.
  2. You must have been enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year. Graduate students are exempt from this requirement if their degree program requires immediate participation in CPT.
  3. You must have an employer for CPT. You cannot be self-employed.
  4. The employment must clearly be related to your field of study.
  5. Undergraduate students are not eligible for CPT until they have declared a major.
  6.  Your department must offer a specific CPT course during that quarter.

CPT Guidelines

  1. You must obtain a new I-20 with CPT authorization prior to the employment start date.
  2. You must obtain a separate I-20  endorsed for each CPT employer if you have multiple employers.
  3. Part-time employment may not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. Full-time employment during official school breaks is permitted. You need separate endorsements for part-time and full-time employment even if the employment is in the same quarter.
  4. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for  optional practical training.
  5. If you work on-campus 20 hours per week or have a 50% RA/TA-ship you are not eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while school is in session. If you have a summer RA/TA-ship and wish to apply for summer CPT you should discuss this with your department.
  6. If you have already completed all course/unit requirements for your degree you are not eligible for CPT except when employment is required to complete the thesis.
  7. You may not do full-time CPT in your final quarter (including summer).
  8. If you are participating in CPT in your final quarter, the last day of employment cannot exceed the final date of exams.
  9. Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) students may qualify to do full-time CPT only if the work is required to complete the PhD/Engineer thesis.
  10. You may not enroll in the same CPT class more than once unless allowed by your department.
  11. You may not enroll in more than one CPT class per quarter.
  12. Students who have applied for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training may not apply for CPT for the same period.
  13. Do not work under CPT unless you have been issued a new I-20 endorsed for CPT with that specific employer, for the specific period of time requested.   Enrolling for the CPT  based course alone does NOT constitute authorization to work!

***WARNING***   Working without a CPT endorsed I-20 is a serious violation of your legal status which could forfeit your ability to remain in the U.S. and bar you in the future from re-entry to the U.S.

Application Process

  1. Enroll in CPT course.
  2. Submit the on-line application form in Axess. You can submit online application form for CPT as early as Axess allows you to enroll in CPT course for the quarter you are doing an internship but no later than 10 days before your internship start date.
  3. The online application requires the approval of the course advisor and the International Student Advisor before it is approved.  Processing time for the CPT application with Bechtel is 5-10 business days.
  4. * Please share the below instructions link with the course advisor

CPT Instructions for Advisors

If you are working remotely this summer due to COVID-19, please put the company address in the US under address 1 and 2 and in the remark section state that you are working remotely and list the address where you will be working (either in the US or outside of the US).

Student Instructions for Online CPT application

You will be notified by email when your new I-20 is approved and ready for pick-up.

Please note:  Students applying for CPT must also meet any additional requirements set by departments concerning the minimum number of units they are required to take during the quarter they are enrolled in the CPT course.

CPT is authorized by Bechtel International Center. You can submit your application as soon as you have enrolled in the CPT course, but no later than 10 working days prior to the start date of employment. A new I-20 authorizing the requested employment period will be issued.

Making Changes to Your CPT Employment Authorization Dates

If you already have a CPT endorsed I-20, and need to change the authorized dates, please ensure that the request meets the following criteria:

  • The employer has not changed.
  • You are still enrolled in the CPT based course during the period of your employment.
  • You have notified your advisor of the change.
  • The change requested is only for dates in the future.
  • The requested end date does not extend into the next quarter.

There are two ways to request a change of CPT Employment Authorization Dates.

  • If your current CPT dates have expired, you will need to submit a new request through AXESS.
  • If your current CPT dates have not expired, you will need to submit your request here.

Employment dates for CPT for 2020-2021

For CPT during Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters, when students are required to be enrolled full-time and can only work part-time under CPT, the proposed start and end dates of CPT must closely follow the academic calendar.

*The academic calendar is subject to change.  
* Please note: CPT dates for Med, Law, and GSB will be different.  Please click here for those dates.

The allowable CPT employment dates for the academic year are:

  • Summer 2020 - start no earlier than 06/11/2020,  end no later than 09/13/2020
  • Autumn - start no earlier than 09/08/2020, end no later than 01/10/2021
  • Winter - start no earlier than 11/21/2020, end no later than 3/28/2021
  • Spring - start no earlier than 03/20/2021, end no later than 06/20/2021
  • Summer - start no earlier than 06/05/2021,  end no later than 09/19/2021

**Please Note: If you are participating in CPT in your final quarter, the last day of employment cannot exceed the last day of class/final date of exams.

No exceptions can be made.


Due to COVID-19 my internship will now be remote.  Can I still do CPT while abroad?

Yes, the government has given temporary regulations stating that students may work remotely (even from abroad) with CPT authorization.  Students must still enroll in their department's CPT course and obtain CPT authorization from Bechtel.  Also, the employer must have an office outside the U.S. or the employer must be able to assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives electronically.

Can I do CPT after I graduate, while waiting for my OPT to be approved?

No, CPT can only be used before graduating, while enrolled in courses.

Do I have to pay for the 1 unit CPT course if I am doing CPT in the Summer?


If I enroll full-time in virtual courses in the Spring can I do full-time CPT in the Summer?

If you have been enrolled full-time for at least 3 quarters, Spring included, than you can apply to do full-time CPT in the Summer. 

Can I apply for CPT in Axess while outside the US?

How do I know what advisor to list on my CPT application in Axess?
Please ask your department which advisor you should list.

Can I do CPT while on a leave of absence?

Do I need CPT if I am doing work in my home country (outside the US) for a non-US company?

What do I need to do if my internship gets canceled due to COVID-19?
You need to notify the Bechtel Int’l Center BEFORE the start date of CPT so that we can cancel your CPT in the system.

I am a first year student who was enrolled in fall and winter quarters and taking a leave of absence for the Spring quarter. Can I return for the summer quarter to do CPT?
The quarter you return from a leave of absence is considered to be an academic quarter.  So, if you took a leave in Spring and returned in the Summer it would be treated as an academic quarter. Therefore the student is required to enroll full time during the summer quarter.  The student does not qualify for CPT because the student has yet to complete 3 academic quarters, an eligibility requirement for CPT authorization.
International students who transfer their SEVIS record from another institution or changed their degree level, please contact the Bechtel International Center to discuss your situation.

I am a continuing student (second year or beyond) who was enrolled in fall and winter quarters and taking a leave of absence for the spring quarter. Can I return in the summer quarter to do CPT?
The summer quarter is the returning quarter and as such is considered to be an academic quarter. Therefore the student is required to enroll full time during the summer quarter.  The student is allowed to do part-time CPT (20 hours or less) during the summer quarter.

Can I do more than one job on CPT?
Yes, but you must apply for CPT in Axess for EACH job. So, you will need to do multiple requests in Axess.

Can I work as an independent contractor while on CPT?

I am a PhD student, is it possible to still apply to CPT after I go TGR?
PhD students in TGR status are only permitted to apply for CPT if it is a requirement to complete their thesis.  That is determined by their academic advisor.

What if I want to change my CPT start date after I have received the CPT approved I-20?
If your start date has not arrived yet, than you can request that we change your CPT start date.  The update form can be found on the CPT page of our website.  You cannot begin working with the new start date until you have received the updated I-20.

I have an internship for the summer, but I don’t have a social security number.  Can I apply for an SSN now?
The Social Security Administration is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 until further notice. Once it reopens, you can apply for an SSN with your I-20 with CPT endorsement, passport, F-1 visa, I-94 as well as SSN application form.  Please be aware that you can’t apply for an SSN more than 30 days prior to the start date of your employment.