A Guide to Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Master’s Students in the US

If you are pursuing a Master’s degree in the US, you might be wondering if it’s possible to work while studying. The good news is, it is! Through a system called Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Master’s students can participate in an internship training program while studying. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about CPT as a Master’s student in the US.

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a program that allows Master’s students in the US to gain practical work experience in their field of study while pursuing their degree. CPT is part of the school curriculum and enables students to participate in an internship training program. The CPT curriculum should therefore be required or you must be receiving a course credit if not required. In addition to this, the CPT is specific to the company at which you do your internship or work and must be completed before you graduate.

Eligibility and Duration

To be eligible for CPT, you must have a valid and active F-1 visa and enroll as a full-time student in your department. You must also have completed at least two semesters of full-time study before applying for CPT.

CPT is employer-specific and the work permit is valid only for the company specified on the second page of your I-20 form. You can only work at that company between the start and end dates specified on the second page of your I-20. Your CPT work permit cannot be transferred to another company. If you want to work at another company, you will have to get a new I-20 form that you want to work at, and to do this you have to apply for it via your school advisor.

The duration of CPT is periodic and must be renewed every fall, spring, and summer. The CPT work permit is usually obtained for part-time internships. If you use a full-time CPT (for a period of 12 months or more), you lose the right to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation. But if you use a part-time CPT, you will not lose your right to the OPT. The part-time CPT allows you to work up to 20 hours per week. Full-time allows you to work 20 hours or more per week.


The purpose of CPT is to allow students to gain practical experience by putting theoretical knowledge into practice and developing the skills and knowledge they have learned in the program. Therefore, the work or internship should be related to your field of study. CPT not only provides students with practical experience, but it can also lead to job opportunities after graduation. By participating in CPT, students can network with professionals in their field and gain valuable work experience that can help them stand out to potential employers.


In summary, CPT is a great opportunity for Master’s students in the US to gain practical work experience in their field of study while pursuing their degree. It’s important to keep in mind that CPT is employer-specific and has specific eligibility requirements and duration limits. However, participating in CPT can lead to valuable work experience and job opportunities after graduation. Make sure to consult your school’s guidelines and follow legal requirements to make the most of your CPT experience.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice. The laws and regulations regarding CPT and other work options for international students may vary depending on your specific circumstances and the current legal requirements. Therefore, it is essential to consult with your school advisor and other appropriate legal resources to ensure that you understand and comply with all the necessary regulations and requirements. We do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising from the use of this information. It is advised to check with official sources and consult with school advisors to ensure that the information is up-to-date and accurate.

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