Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a legal means by which F-1 students can obtain off-campus employment when the experience is considered to be an integral part of the student’s course of study. CPT can take the form of a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or other experience which is required for the major, or where course credit is granted. The objective of CPT is not financial but is to gain practical experience that is integral to your course of study. Students can use only up to 12 months of CPT during their time at Pitzer.

ELIGIBILITY: You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year (9 months), currently be in F-1 status, and demonstrate that the internship/experience is integral to your course of study. In addition, you may not have previously used more than twelve months of full-time curricular practical training.

WHEN TO APPLY: You must apply for CPT BEFORE your internship begins.

APPLYING FOR CPT: First, make an appointment to see the International Student Adviser to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, then you will need to provide the necessary materials:

Letter from organization – Letter should be on organization letterhead and have start and end dates for what you will be doing. Email from official email address also acceptable (but should not be from a yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. domain)

Letter from your faculty adviser – Needs to assert that internship/practicum/etc. is integral to course of study and their approval/recommendation for you to participate

Register with Career Services – You will need to contact Career Services and let them you will be doing an internship.  In order for the zero credit internship line to show up on your Pitzer transcript, you will need to fill out the Career Services Internship form and develop some learning objectives for it.

Once you have provided these things, the International Student Advisor will print out an updated CPT I-20 for you.

AFTER THE INTERNSHIP:  You will need to complete a ~500-word reflection paper evaluating yourself on each learning objective, and provide written documentation from your supervisor about the hours you completed for the internship.


  • Make sure you let your International Student Adviser know ahead of time that you are planning to do this internship, and you have enough time to work out details with your faculty adviser and get approved before the internship starts.
  • Keep your updated CPT I-20 safe. If you use CPT multiple times, please make sure to save all I-20s. You may need them later if you decide to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Keep track of the amount of time you use for CPT. Get in touch with your international student adviser if you are approaching 12 months total (not just for this particular summer or winter).