Guidelines for International Students

If you are on an F-1 student visa, you must fulfill certain requirements in order to gain practical training through either an internship or co-op so that you don't violate the terms of your visa.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off-campus work experience (training) that is an integral part of an established curriculum. In practical terms, this means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum, or if not required, the student must receive credit for the training.

Because the UMass College of Information and Computer Sciences does not require practical work experience in order to graduate, international CICS students MUST register for a 1 credit independent study course in order to complete either an internship or co-op experience.

How Do I Know if I am Eligible to Apply for CPT?

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e. two full, consecutive semesters before applying for CPT), and be in good academic standing
  • Have a job offer
  • The position must be relevant to your field of study
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program
  • Have UMass approved health insurance

* Note: students are NOT ELIGIBLE for CPT once you have completed all degree requirements.

The Application Process

  • You must first have an internship or co-op offer from an employer within your field of study
  • You must bring a copy of the job offer from the employer to the Undergraduate Program Director (if you are an undergraduate student) or Graduate Program Director (if you are a graduate student) in your academic department. The letter with the offer must:
    • Be addressed to you and signed by the company representative
    • Written on the company's letterhead (no emails)
    • Provide a job description and a job title
    • Specify whether the position is part-time or full-time. Note: students may work full-time (40 hours/week) during vacation times such as summer or winter break, or up to 20 hours during the academic year unless you are going on co-op and have completed the necessary forms with Career Services (see above).
    • Specify the start date and the end date of the internship or co-op
    • Include the complete address of the site that the work will take place (street, city, state and zip code)
  • The UPD or GPD will complete a form to enroll you in a 1-credit independent study and will sign the completed the CPT Authorization Form (must be filled out in advance) [pdf] (page 3)
  • Bring the completed CPT Authorization Form (signed by academic advisor/program director) and the job offer letter to the UMass International Programs Office (IPO), located in 70 Butterfield Terrace.  The IPO office will send your completed CPT request to SEVIS electronically to generate a new I-20 and the CPT work authorization will appear on page 2 of the new SEVIS I-20.
  • Make sure you have updated your address in SPIRE within 10 days of any change while you are on F-1 status.

Other Important Information

Please view the International Programs Office's CPT Application Packet [pdf] for a more comprehensive understanding of how going on CPT may affect your eligibility for future post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), travel considerations, and social security card information.

Still Have Questions?

Schedule an appointment with an IPO advisor (IPO Website).