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FAQs - Work Authorization

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT and I am eligible for it as an F-1 student?

Authorized Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be "...an integral part of an established curriculum." (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10), and it must be directly related to the F-1 student's field of study, and may be either:

  1. An off-campus work experience that is a required part of the degree program for all students in that particular degree program (academic credit not required), or
  2. An elective course that is part of the degree program, taken for academic credit, which requires an off-campus work experience that is described in the published course description. The course must be taken for academic credit during the same term the outside internship is taking place.

CPT is job, location, and date-specific and the F-1 student must have a valid job offer that is required by the specific offered course to be eligible.

Are all programs and majors eligible for CPT at Dartmouth?

Unfortunately due to the structure of Dartmouth's undergraduate curriculum, this type of employment is currently not available to undergraduate students. There are currently only three courses at the Dartmouth College graduate schools that will qualify for CPT: At the Thayer School of Engineering: ENGG 290 and ENGG 390, and at the Tuck School of Business: the Tuck first-year summer internship for credit (“field Studies in American Business.”. For Arts and Sciences and Medical School students, graduate degree program thesis/research courses may occasionally qualify for CPT, depending on the internship offered, and the relation of that work experience to the student's degree program.

How often can I use CPT?

In general, CPT for graduate students at Dartmouth is authorized only during one vacation term per year, for full-time research at an off-campus location. There is no limit to the amount of time a student may spend doing CPT before they graduate, however. If the amount of full-time CPT exceeds 12-months, the student will be ineligible for any period of future post-completion Optional Practical Training. A student may not take the same course multiple times for the sole purposes of CPT authorization. No student (graduate or undergraduate) can participate in a CPT internship during the term immediately preceding their program completion (graduation).

Does CPT affect any of my future Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility?

No, not unless the amount of full-time CPT exceeded 12-months.

How does the CPT application process differ from the OPT application process?

Unlike OPT, there is no application fee, nor is there a required filing of the CPT application directly with the immigration service (USCIS). As long as your off-campus work opportunity is authorized by your department and academic advisor and OVIS endorses the work authorization under CPT regulations, then OVIS will provide you with an updated I-20 form which describes the company/organization, location, and dates of employment. Also unlike OPT, you do actually need a job secured, with exact dates of employment, prior to applying for CPT.

Last Updated: 2/2/11