We want every College of Engineering student to feel supported through their application of Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Since this process requires a collaboration of multiple entities on campus, we have outlined the steps below that will ensure the most timely process for your approval. Please be patient with us as we are navigating the best options to ensure you meet the federal and Cal Poly requirements.
It is important to remember that this process can take several weeks for approval. We ask that you do your best to plan ahead and discuss your options with an advisor early.
Step # 1: Review the CPT Requirements
You can review the full list of CPT requirements on the International Students and Scholars CPT Webpage. The following are an overview of those requirements:
- Required for all paid or non-paid, part or full-time internships
- Part-time authorizes you to work no more than 20 hours per week
- Enrollment in and tuition paid for an appropriate course in your major
- Enrollment during the term when you are working
- The internship class requires you to work off-campus instead of attending weekly class meetings on-campus
- Total enrollment during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters must be at least 12 units for undergraduate student and 8 units for graduate students
- Summer enrollment CPT course must be at least 1 unit in the 10-week session
- Completing the internship course with a Credit or passing letter grade is required in order to maintain valid F-1 visa status
- Must be authorized before you can legally begin or continue the internship
- You may not work outside of the authorized start and end dates
- Must be authorized for each quarter of the internship, even for consecutive quarters
If you do not meet these requirements, CPT may not be the best option for you. You should meet with the International Students and Scholars staff to discuss alternate options to achieve your personal goals.
Step # 2: Obtain an Offer Letter
Prior to pursuing CPT, you must obtain an offer from an employer. Please make sure the offer letter contains the following so that we have all the documentation needed to move forward in the process:
- Offer must be received on the employer's letterhead
- Start and end dates of employment
- Paid or unpaid position
- Part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (More than 20 hours)
- Full address of where you will be working
- Brief description of job duties
- Signature of your employer
Step # 3: Meet with an Advisor in Engineering Student Services
Once your offer letter is obtained, you will meet with an Advisor to discuss your offer letter, graduation plan, and available use of degree applicable credit.
Please schedule an appointment with either Maria Zavala or Katie McGuire.
Please be prepared to provide the following at your appointment:
- Your offer letter
- Number of desired quarters for the internship/job
During this appointment we will discuss potential courses you can take that may meet the requirements below:
- International students cannot enroll in an internship course that falls outside their major
- International students cannot be given work authorization for internships related to their minor
- The course requirements must be fulfilled by completion of the internship
- For Summer Courses: The student should enroll in the summer session that most closely aligns the length of the student's internship. For example, if a student is pursuing an internship for most of the summer term, they should enroll in the 10-week summer session and not a 5-week summer session
After you have met with your advisor, they will email your Department Head/Chair and copy you so that everyone is on the same page for your plan.
Since the course you take for CPT must be degree applicable, your Department will most likely need to approve the course you plan to take and how many quarters they will allow for degree credit.
Step # 5: Course Substitution Paperwork
Once your Department has provided guidance on the course and number of approved quarters, your advisor with work with you to complete a Petition for Major or Support Course Substitution/Exception.
Please note that this process requires signatures from multiple areas of campus. This form can take a few days or a few weeks to be signed.
Step # 6: Register for the CPT Eligible Course
Once approval has been officially given for you to receive credit for the discussed course, you may register in it for the quarter.
Step # 7: Submit the Online CPT Application
Submit the online CPT Application, which will be available after registration opens for the term.
You will receive an email when your CPT is approved.