The purpose of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is for international students to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience directly related to their field of study. The desire for employment is not the main consideration in determining CPT eligibility. The school's curriculum and the importance of the work to the student’s academic program are the determining factors.
USCIS Regulations state that an F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is "an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” “To grant authorization for a student to engage in curricular practical training, a DSO at a SEVIS school will update the student's record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training that is directly related to the student's major area of study.” -USCIS Citation: 8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i)(B)
In other words, the work must be an integral part of the curriculum and required in some way. To qualify as a curricular practical training course, the CPT must fall into one of the following categories:
The CPT is required for all degree candidates as reflected in the course catalogue; or
The CPT is part of an internship course for academic credit towards the degree as reflected in the student’s degree plan; or
The CPT can be required to complete thesis/dissertation research, as reflected in the student’s degree plan.
Additional guidance from the NAFSA Adviser’s Manual indicates that “at a minimum, a qualifying curricular practical training course will carry academic credit, be listed in a school's regular bulletin of course offerings, and have a faculty member assigned to teach the course. It is particularly important that any employment experience required by the course be instrumental to achieving a curricular academic objective.”
F-1 students must also continue to pursue a full course of study while on CPT. This means that approved CPT is usually in Waco so that the student can continue with a full course load. For a few graduate programs Baylor does consider the internship and its accompanying course as full-time enrollment. Students should check with the Registrar’s Office to see if their internship qualifies as full-time enrollment. For undergraduates, students must be fully enrolled in courses during their CPT. During the summer months, students are not required to be fully enrolled, so they may complete CPT without being enrolled full-time; however, the student must be enrolled for the course for which the CPT has been granted. In addition, students must be registered for the following fall term.
A student can work as much as is required by their academic program as long as labor laws and other relevant laws are taken into account; however, if a student engages in 12 months or more of full time CPT, they are not eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Periods of part-time CPT do not count towards the 12 month limit of full-time CPT.
Students may only be employed by a specific employer, at a specific location and for specific dates as approved by ISSS, and a student can begin working with their CPT employer once they have received the I-20 reflecting the CPT work authorization and the start date has begun. Students should submit application materials well in advance of their desired start date. The ISSS Office recommends that documents be submitted at least 30 days in advance.
Approval is based on the following:
The student is in good academic standing with Baylor University.
The student is currently in valid F-1 status at an SEVP-approved "college, university, conservatory, or seminary." Baylor does not consider “pending reinstatement” as valid F-1 status.
The student has been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year (fall and spring) at a SEVIS approved school. An exception may be made for graduate students who are required to participate in CPT during their first year of study. (This means all participants in that graduate academic program must do an internship within the initial year of study.)
The student will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT.
The training is determined to be "an integral part of an established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study."
The training meets the “required” standard as defined above.
Student must complete the online CPT Workshop.
Student must submit application materials to the ISSS Office. These documents include:
CPT Request Form
Official job letter on company letterhead with the dates and times of employment, any compensation, and a detailed list of duties/job responsibilities that will be completed. The letter must contain a sentence that states that the employer “agrees to cooperate with the school in achieving the curricular purposes of the employment/training.”
Faculty Confirmation Form in which a faculty member indicates how this work is “an integral part of an established curriculum” and “directly related to the student’s major area of study.” The faculty member should be the course instructor. In rare cases a Department Chair may sign the form in place of the faculty member. Academic Advisors who do not hold faculty status may not sign the Faculty Confirmation Form.
DSO will review all materials including passport, visa, I-94 and most recent I-20 and determine if the request meets the standards set by U.S. regulations for Curricular Practical Training.
DSO will notify student of decision.
Student picks up new I-20 with CPT designation on it.