Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students.
  • It is an opportunity to participate in a paid position off-campus within your field of study, during the time that you are pursuing your degree. 

See ISPO's website for more information about CPT and how to apply via iPortal.

How long does it take for a CPT application to be processed?

Once a CPT iPortal request is submitted, it will get routed to the ECE Department for review. It takes 3-5 business days for the department to process your iPortal request. After it is approved, it will be routed to ISPO for further review and your new I-20 will be issued. 

Do I need to enroll in a course for CPT?

During the academic year (FA/WI/SP quarters) students will need to enroll in a CPT-eligible course and earn credit for their employment.

M.S. Students & Ph.D. students without a PI/research advisor:

  • Once you submit your iPortal CPT application, it will be routed to the ECE Dept. ECE will review it and notify you, via email, that you have been cleared to enroll in ECE 298 (1-16 units). After you enroll, you will inform the advisor, via email, and they will route your CPT application to ISPO for further review.
    • Students can choose how many units of ECE 298 they need to maintain their student standing:
      • Full time status (12+ units which will require paying full time tuition and fees)
      • Part time status + RCL (7-11 units which will require paying full time tuition and fees)
      • Half time status + RCL (1-6 units which will require halftime tuition and fees)
        • Be sure to list in the faculty email address section within the application.
    • In order to earn credit for ECE 298, you will need to write a 2-3 page report describing your internship experience and submit it to the M.S. Advisor by the end of Week 10. You will receive more details about the report via email. 
    • ECE 298 cannot be used towards your degree and is only graded as S/U. 

Ph.D. Students with a PI (Faculty Research Advisor): 

  • Once your application is reviewed, you should enroll in ECE 299 under your research advisor. Your research advisor will issue your grade at the end of the quarter.

During the Summer, students are eligible to participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program.

  • During the Summer term, students have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program. This is an agreement between the student, the faculty advisor and employer that outlines specific goals the student will work towards that would otherwise meet requirements of a course for credit. 
  • Students who participate in this program will not be required to earn academic credit for their employment and will not be required to pay tuition during the Summer term.
ECE Summer Co-op Agreement Form Information

In order to participate, students will need to fill out the Summer Cooperative Education Agreement and submit it as part of their CPT application.

M.S. Students & Ph.D. students without a PI/research advisor:

  • Please list the ECE Vice Chair under the "faculty advisor name" section. You do not need to contact the Vice Chair. No signature is needed on the form. 

Ph.D. Students with a PI (Faculty Research Advisor): 

  • Please list your PI under the "faculty advisor name" section. No signature is needed on the form. You can look up your PIs information here.

Students who participate in this program will need to submit the "F-1 Post CPT Cooperative Education Internship for Graduate Students Reporting Form" in iPortal at the end of their internship. Students who do not submit this form will receive a hold on their account. ​​​​​​


100% CPT During Academic Year Compliance
  • International students are limited to part-time CPT during the academic year (fall, winter and spring quarters) and may be eligible for full-time CPT during the summer term or quarter breaks.
  • Full-time CPT during the academic year (fall, winter and spring quarters) may be available to graduate students who have advanced to candidacy.
  • Students who would like to work full-time during academic breaks or during the quarter should contact their ECE advisor for information about this policy.