Note: These guidelines are for Academic Departments. If you are a student seeking information on Curricular Practical Training, please see our CPT information for students.

Introduction

US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations define F-1 Practical Training as “employment... that is directly related to [a student’s] major area of study.” DHS regulations further clarify that F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that is “an integral part of an established curriculum.” In order for NYU to remain in compliance with these and other Federal regulations, the NYU Office of Global Services (OGS) has established the following guidelines for NYU academic departments regarding three possible ways for F-1 international students to seek CPT authorization:

Degree Requirement

CPT may be authorized for an employment or fieldwork experience that the department requires of all degree candidates in a program. For graduate programs that require employment of all degree candidates, academic credit might not be required for CPT authorization.

Internship or Practicum

CPT may be authorized for an employment experience in the major area of study that is a mandatory part of a course that a student is taking for degree credit. This course may be an elective, but the credit must be counted toward the degree. The course must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an internship or practical training experience as a required component for all students enrolled in the course.
  • Bear academic credit that will count toward the student’s total credits required to complete the degree.
  • Indicate clearly in the course description, bulletin and web information:
    • that the course may be used for an internship or practical training;
    • the minimum or maximum internship hours required for the course, if any; and
    • the limit, if any, on the number of internship hours, courses, or credits that may count toward the program or degree requirements.

Please note these guidelines regarding CPT for internships and practicums:

  • In general, the dates of the internship and CPT authorization should coincide with the dates of the course for the appropriate term - but note the following:
    • Exceptions are possible with clear, academically-based parameters as stated in writing to OGS
    • CPT may start before course enrollment dates during an adjoining school break as long as this does not overlap with preceding or succeeding dates as per the NYU Academic Calendar. Departments should contact their OGS school liaison for clarification, if needed.
    • If CPT extends into the adjoining semester or summer session, there must be appropriate internship course enrollment for that semester or session.
    • For CPT that runs past the usual session or semester enrollment dates, no course grade should be posted in Albert for CPT-related enrollment until after the CPT end date has passed; at most, a grade of “Incomplete” may be posted, if necessary.
  • CPT authorization can only be extended beyond the originally authorized dates if there is a new CPT request on file, including required academic support. Departments should contact their OGS school liaison for clarification, if needed.
  • CPT can be authorized for independent study, or for capstone or final project only if the catalog course description clearly states that an internship may be used to fulfill these course requirements.
  • The academic department should meet with the student when requested, in order to:
    • Review the internship class requirements;
    • Discuss the appropriateness of the employment in light of academic requirements;
    • Ensure the student is registered for the proper class; and
    • Direct interested international students to visit the OGS website, attend an OGS F-1 CPT workshop, and/or speak to an OGS advisor with any questions about CPT or the application process.
  • The academic department should complete via email the “CPT Request” form and submit the required additional departmental letter to verify to OGS:
    • That the student is making normal academic progress toward degree completion,
    • That the internship activity will count toward the student’s degree, and
    • That it is academically related to the student's major area of study (but see “Special Note regarding closely related major-minor programs” below).
  • If an academic department wishes to establish a new CPT internship option for international students, or to modify an existing one, they should
    • Ensure the catalog has a course listing showing appropriate internship/practicum information;
    • Direct interested international students to visit the OGS website, attend an OGS F-1 CPT workshop, and/or speak to an OGS advisor with any questions about CPT or the application process.
  • Special note regarding closely related major-minor programs:
    • Occasionally, there may be a close academic relationship between a student’s minor and major areas of study.
    • When this occurs, an internship course which counts academically as part of the minor may nevertheless involve a work experience that meets the regulatory requirement for CPT to be “employment... that is directly related to [a student’s] major area of study”.  
    • When this type of overlap occurs, the student’s major program academic advisor must affirm the overlap to OGS via email before CPT can be authorized appropriately by OGS.

Required for Thesis of Dissertation

CPT may be authorized for thesis or dissertation research credits and/or maintenance of matriculation with full-time equivalency, if applicable, only if the following criteria are met:

  • CPT activity must be directly related to the major area of study.
  • CPT experience and/or data must be directly and clearly used in the student's dissertation, research, or thesis work.
  • The academic department must write a letter of support and explanation detailing that this is true.
  • The student must show full-time enrollment and a U.S. address in the Albert system throughout the CPT period.
  • CPT that goes beyond one year in aggregate can raise a number of concerns, including loss of a student's OPT eligibility. Therefore, any CPT request beyond eleven months in total will require a further explanation by the department and review by OGS.
  • CPT authorization for thesis or dissertation credits cannot be extended beyond the authorized dates due to student failure or a grade of incomplete.
  • Please also note the following regarding CPT for thesis or dissertation research:
    • The academic department should meet with the student when requested, in order to:
      • Review the thesis or dissertation academic requirements;
      • Discuss the appropriateness of the employment in light of these academic requirements;
      • Ensure the student is registered for the proper thesis or dissertation credits, or for maintenance of matriculation and full-time equivalency, as applicable;
      • Direct interested international students to visit the OGS website, attend an OGS F-1 CPT workshop, and/or speak to an OGS advisor with any questions about CPT or the application process.
    • The academic department should complete via email the “CPT Request” form and submit the required additional departmental letter to verify to OGS:
      • That the student is making normal academic progress toward degree completion,
      • That the CPT activity is required for thesis or dissertation research,
      • That the CPT activity will count toward the student’s degree, and
      • That it is academically related to the student's major area of study.

General CPT Guidelines

  • CPT cannot be used merely to facilitate F-1 student employment. Any activity authorized as CPT is subject to audit or review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Labor, and must be clearly curricular in purpose. CPT must be directly related to the major area of study and must have a clear connection to the curriculum as listed in the bulletin and on the web.
  • CPT is limited to 20 hours per week during the semester, with exceptions possible only during the summer or under specific, documented, academically established parameters (e.g., students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their final semester taking not more than one course in addition to the internship, etc.; each program must establish and document any such parameters for their students).
  • Each academic department must provide supervision of the internship or training activities of their students, and must accept the internship credits toward satisfying degree requirements.
  • In addition to being registered for an internship course, students must also meet all other eligibility criteria to be authorized for CPT, including two prior consecutive semesters of full-time study (non-English Language Institute, non-English as a Second Language), with exceptions possible only for graduate students in academic programs that require a practicum or internship (as defined above) within the first year of study. This requirement must be clearly stated in the course description, bulletin and web information.  (See also “Special Note for undergraduate programs with mandatory internship components” below.)
  • International students cannot begin working until they have received written CPT authorization from OGS.
  • If no internship class or other option as listed above is available for the student, or if a work opportunity does not meet the requirements for these, then F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) may provide a helpful alternate means of employment authorization. Please direct students to contact OGS or visit our website for further information on OPT.
  • Regarding unpaid internships as defined by the US Department of Labor:
    • These do not require the completion of an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form, and therefore F-1 students engaging in wholly unpaid activities are not currently required to have CPT or OPT authorization to do so.
    • Nevertheless, students may face increased scrutiny even of unpaid internship activity, and are therefore strongly advised by OGS to obtain CPT authorization whenever possible even for unpaid activity in their field of study.
    • Students should speak with an OGS advisor for clarification before beginning any internship or similar activity, paid or unpaid.
  • Special note for undergraduate programs with mandatory internship components:
    • Undergraduate students returning from a leave of absence (LOA) or other break in studies will need to complete two full-time semesters in the U.S. after returning from their LOA or other break before becoming eligible for CPT authorization.  
    • For these students, please consider a non-CPT internship option such as doing the internship outside the US during a summer or winter break, since no CPT is needed outside the US. 
    • Otherwise, these students may need to prolong their academic program to accommodate two or more full-time semesters of study post-LOA but before any CPT internship.
    • Please direct students to contact an OGS advisor for clarification regarding this.

For Further Assistance Regarding CPT

For academic departments seeking further assistance regarding CPT guidelines for academic departments and CPT eligibility, please contact Tom Sirinides, OGS Director of International Student Services, 212-998-4125 or ts92@nyu.edu.

For students seeking information on Curricular Practical training, please see our CPT resource page for students.