CPT: Curricular Practical Training

Participating in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows you to work in an off-campus job or internship to gain practical experience in your field and to build your résumé while you are completing your academic program.

In order to apply for CPT, you must first attend (or review) the CPT Workshop offered by OIP.  You do not need to have a job offer already to attend the workshop.  In fact, we recommend you attend the workshop before going on the market for a job or internship, so you have all the information you will need.  No registration is required to attend the workshop.

Basic Eligibility for CPT

  • Have at least one academic year (2 long semesters) of valid F-1/F-3 status (exception: ATCP program)
  • Have a declared major
  • Obtain a job offer for a position related to your major
  • Meet the requirements for the Internship Program  — see below for more information

Non-degree and English Language Institute students are, unfortunately, ineligible for CPT.

Types of CPT

  • Part-time CPT: Up to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time CPT: 21 hours per week and up

Maintaining Status During CPT

If you participate in part-time CPT, you still have to take the required full-time credit hours per semester for your program.

If you participate in a full-time CPT starting before Census Day, you may opt to not take other classes for that semester, if approved by your academic advisor and if you are a graduate student, the Graduate School. The full-time CPT will allow you to maintain status for only one semester.

You may participate in CPT multiple times during your studies at UTEP.  In some cases, you may have more than one CPT at one time. CPT authorization is job specific so if you get a new job you would need to reapply for CPT.

CPT is authorized on a semester by semester basis.  For example, you wish to have an internship in both the Fall and Spring terms, you would have to renew your CPT authorization for the Spring term.

In your final semester of studies, you must be enrolled in at least one (1) required course other than the COOP 0001/2 class in order to be eligible for CPT. For graduate students, that one required course must carry at least three credits.  Also, if you have CPT during your final semester, your CPT must end by the last day of final exams for that term.

If you reach one year of full-time CPT authorizations (cumulative), you have lost your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Special Topics for Graduate Students

The CPT process for graduate students is different than that for undergraduate students due to Graduate School policy.

You must obtain approval signatures from your academic advisor, department chair, dean and the Graduate School before the OIP can review the CPT request. A new employment letter with employment start and end dates must accompany the CPT renewal application (copy of email or memo from employer is acceptable).

Full-time CPT is limited to two (2) long semesters per degree, excluding summer semesters.

If you have an assistantship, you are not permitted to participate in a full-time CPT. If you have questions about this, please contact the Graduate School at 915-747-5491.

If you have received an I-20 extension for your current program, it is possible that the Graduate School will not recommend you for CPT.

Internship Program

In order to participate in CPT, you must first meet requirements of the UTEP University Career Center’s Internship Program. This means you will need report your job offer in the JobMine database. You also need to have a 2.0 minimum GPA  as an undergraduate, or a 3.0 GPA as a graduate student, as well as being within the credit hour ranges for the Internship program. The University Career Center will tell you everything you need to do to be registered for the COOP 0001/2 course. They are located in Union West, Room #103.

The Career Center will register you for the 0-credit COOPclass. The course is reflection of your participation in a major-related work experience and it will appear on your transcript. There are no classes to attend and registration in the course is free.

Application Process

  • Attend an OIP CPT workshop. No registration is required. You will receive the CPT application at the workshop.
  • Obtain a job offer letter from your prospective employer with start and end dates.
  • Write a letter stating how your job is related to your major and how it will be helpful to you in your professional development. Attach this to your CPT application, and include it in the upload of the Job Mine documentation.
  • Open your JobMine account (activate it if you haven’t already) and click on “Report my Internship.” Select the term during which you will be working. Search for your employer in JobMine; if not there, add your employer.
  • Submit the job offer letter to the University Career Center by uploading it to your JobMine account in the “Report a Hire” section, by e-mail to internships@utep.edu, or in person.
  • Complete the CPT Application form.  Undergraduate students: Ask your academic advisor to evaluate your job offer and sign off on your CPT application. Graduate students: you must obtain multiple signatures as stated above and listed on the form.
  • Graduate students only: Attach a copy of your I-20 to the CPT application, and offer letter with start and end dates
  • Undergraduates: Turn in the CPT application to OIP; Graduates: submit your completed CPT application to the Graduate School; they will forward to OIP.
  • Undergraduates: submit your CPT application to OIP at least 1 week before you need to begin work; Graduates: submit your CPT application to the Graduate School two weeks before you need to begin work.
  • OIP will assign an advisor to review your application for eligibility and authorize your CPT within 5 business days of our receipt of your complete application.
  • When your CPT is approved by OIP, you will receive a new I-20 with the CPT work authorization on the third page from OIP. You will see the start date and end dates for your CPT and your employer’s name and address.

Important: You must only work during the CPT authorization dates (on page 3 of your I-20). If you work before the approved start date or after the approved end date, you do so without legal authorization.

Finally, please note that 1) if you are only enrolled in COOP 0001/2 in any given semester and 2) you are from any country other than Mexico, you will be billed for UTEP student health insurance.

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