Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

“Curricular practical training (CPT) 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 a school.”


Disclaimer: This guide is updated on a trimester basis and may not include the most recent changes by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Please see your NPU DSO for an application review of your CPT request or for more information.


Good to Know About CPT at NPU:

CPT is both a job and a class which helps prepare you as a professional. There are no restrictions on what you may earn on the job; however, the focus of the training is to allow the student real-world professional practice as part of a class.


Applying for CPT

You can apply for CPT at any time during the trimester’s first twelve (12) weeks.

Start and End Dates

You may begin your CPT during the trimester break prior to the start of the trimester or at any time during the trimester’s first twelve (12) weeks. Your end date must be the last day of the trimester.


Continuing CPT

If you plan to continue with the same job, you will need to register for a new CPT course in the next trimester by completing a new request and following the process again. Apply early so there is no interruption.


Trimester Break

Students who are on a complete trimester break will have to pay a registration fee, learning resource fee, campus fee, and an insurancefee as well as the CPT course tuition fee.


Social Security Card

If you do not have a social security number (SSN), the CPT advisor will provide you with a letter in support of your SSN. This letter is issued by a Designated School Official (DSO) upon approval of your CPT. You will need to apply for an SSN at a local Social Security Administration office.


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Please be aware that if you wish to take OPT after you graduate, you must not take more than 12 months of full-time CPT at your current academic level (undergraduate or graduate). There are no restrictions on OPT eligibility for part-time CPT.


Do I qualify for CPT if I transferred from another institution in the United States?

Students who have studied at another institution for a period of time preceding him/her joining NPU can have that period be counted towards their CPT eligibility. Simply ensure that you meet all the requirements. (Refer to Step 1)

What if I am currently working on changing my Visa status, such as H4 to F1?

You can apply for CPT upon receiving your F1 status. Simply ensure you meet all the requirements. (Refer to Step 1)

I am a U. S. Citizen (or legal permanent resident), can I take CPT?

Yes, you are eligible for CPT and are able to take CPT immediately.

What if my employers’ corporate office is outside of California?

Students must adhere to the 50 mile radius rule. However, if your employer has a local clientele office, you can work so long as their local address is specified in your job offer letter and in your CPT application.

How many times can I enroll in CPT?

No more than 6 units of practicum coursework may be counted towards graduation.

Will my reports be graded?

Reports will be graded on a Satisfactory (S)/No Pass (NP) basis. Reports that are incomplete or submitted late have the consequence of receiving a NP grade. If a student receives two NP grades, their CPT will be terminated and they will receive a failing grade in the course. Students who fail CPT will not receive future opportunities to participate in CPT again.

I am authorized for CPT, but what do I do if I change my mind, change my visa status or something about my job changes?

For any changes in your CPT, you must notify the CPT Advisor immediately. If you're an international student, the CPT Advisor may have to amend or cancel your CPT I-20.



CPT Process Guide




Elective Credits

Non-CPT Credits
Allows with CPT

Weekly Hours


Contact Hours

Part Time

(CPT 401/CPT 501)


9 - graduate

12 - undergraduate

up to 20


Full Time

(CPT 402/ CPT 502)


6- all students

up to 40





CPT Qualifications:

CGPA 3.0 or better- undergraduate

CGPA 3.3 or better- graduate

Not be enrolled in an ESL/IEP course

Valid F1 status for 9 months*

Passport valid for the next 6 months*

* Not applicable to local students

Meet with the CPT Advisor in the NPU Administration Office

Job Citiera:

Apply for a job that is in your field of study. Your job must be located within a 50 mile radius of the NPU campus. However, if your employer has a local client office, you can work there as long as the client’s name and address is specified in your job offer letter and in your CPT application. Work from home position (Not Allowed)

If you are offered a job, you will need to request an offer letter from your employer. It must include all of the following:

Company letterhead

Your job title

Detailed job description

Start date

End date

Hours per week

Pay rate

Company Name

Supervisor’s name

Supervisor’s job title

Supervisors email

Supervisor phone #

Work location address

Clients name (if any)

Missing information will result in having to request another letter from your employer!

Northwestern Polytechnic University NPU Sample CPT Job Offer Letter for Curricular Practical Training

If you are offered a job, you will need to request an offer letter from your employer. It must include all of the following:

Company letterhead

Your job title

Detailed job description

Upload the following documents:

Job offer letter (from Step #3)

Passport copy*


Visa copy*

Previous I-20, only if you previously enrolled in the CPT course

* Not applicable to local students

The CPT advisor receives a notification when you submit your application and documents online. You are not required to send an email or make an office visit to inform the CPT advisor.

Please allow 3-4 business days for processing and verification of information provided. During peak times allow 1-2 weeks for processing.

Wait patiently for a notification that the CPT agreement has been generated and forwarded to your employer.

Have your employer sign the agreement and email it to the CPT advisor.

Any missing documents, need for updates or revisions will delay the processing time.

Please allow 1-2 days for approval and course registration.

Wait patiently for email notification allowing you to pay for the CPT course once registered.

Pay your course fees.

Wait patiently for email letting you know that your CPT I-20 is ready for pick up. You may not begin working until your I-20 has been issued.*

* Applicable to International students

CPT Course Reporting

CPT is both a job and a class which helps prepare you as a professional. CPT is a course in which a professor evaluates your learning while your employer guides you through the work experience. A student enrolled in any CPT course in a trimester is required to fulfill the following academic requirements in order to earn their course units.


Submit reports online: MyNPU student portal > CPT Report


Weekly Reports

A. You need to provide the following information in your weekly report:

• Work Dates

• Hours of Work

• Activities Performed

• Skills Applied to Complete Tasks

• Relevant Course/s Taken

• Knowledge/Skills Acquired


B. Reports must be different every week.

• Do not copy and paste any previous weeks reports.

• Incomplete and late reports will result in a No Pass (NP) grade.


C. Deadline to submit your weekly report is by midnight Sunday of each week.


Final Report

A. You will find a copy of the final report template in the course handout section on your MyNPU student portal.


B. You need to provide the following information in your final report:

• Employer Information

• Job Information

• Relevant Knowledge & Skills from Program of Study

• Your Learning Experience

• Independent Research Skills/Activities

• Self Evaluation


C. Deadline to submit final report is at the end of the trimester, or the week your CPT ends (whichever is sooner). Upload your CPT report on your student portal and bring a paper printout with you to the CPT exit interview.


Employer Survey

You need to request your employer/supervisor to fill out a survey about your performance during CPT. This survey must be submitted to the CPT Instructor during the Exit Interview.


Exit Interview

An exit interview will be scheduled to meet your CPT Instructor in-person before your CPT work/course ends.

Sample Picture of Online CPT application

Northwestern Polytechnic University NPU CPT Application