Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

CPT and OPT Policy for International Graduate Students


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. 

CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job/internship offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program. Students must have completed two academic semesters in the United States in order to qualify.

Currently, CPT will only be approved during the Fall and Spring semesters in very rare circumstances. Learn more...


To apply for Summer CPT, students must complete the following with the Graduate Program Manager for processing. 

  • Obtain a registration form from CPE. Registration form can be found here. Filled out form should be emailed or dropped off to the GPM for signature.
  • Complete a Handshake contract.
  • Offer letter and CPE course registration will need to be uploaded in application.
    • Eileen will submit your CPE registration form to CPE for enrollment.
    • The offer letter must contain the start and end dates of employment, earnings, number of hours per week, and position which is related to your degree program. The letter must be on company letterhead and include the mailing and/or employment address.
    • The start and end dates must be within the summer academic period. Please see CPE for dates.
  • CPT online application submitted to IPO. Please fill out the form with the following information:
    • SPIRE Enrollment Record: upload the CPE form here
    • Option: I will receive credit
    • Advisor Email: Elizabeth Parolski (MS students only) eparolski@cs.umass.edu, or Eileen Hamel (PhD students) ehamel@cs.umass.edu 
    • Advisor Phone: 413/545-3640

Although this one-credit course will appear on your transcript, it does not count toward your MS degree requirements.

There is a $47 registration fee and $220 tuition fee associated with the Summer Independent Study.

If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Program Manager



International graduate students should visit the IPO website to review OPT requirements

In order to begin the process for OPT approval:

1. The graduation eligibility form has been submitted by the student to Malaika Ross via email or in person for the college to verify academic requirements have been met. maross@cs.umass.edu. Fall deadline to submit the form to Malaika is October 29 and spring deadline is March 24.

2. The college submits the eligibility form to the University Graduate School where a new graduation date is entered into SPIRE. This process does not begin until November 1 in the fall and March 26 in the spring and may take up to 10 days to complete. 

3. Once the graduation date has been set in SPIRE, the student may submit an OPT application via the IPO website. 

  • MS students will use Elizabeth Parolsky as the approver 
  • PhD students will use Eileen Hamel as the approver

4. Please allow 5-7 days for final approval.

We recommend submitting your eligibility form as soon as possible in order to be approved as quickly as possible. Once you have submitted the form, it is the responsibility of the student to check for a graduation date in SPIRE in order to begin the OPT application.