What are some of the factors that determine CPT eligibility?
To be eligible for CPT you must have been enrolled as a full-time student at least one academic year. The practical training opportunity must be required or integral to your degree program. The practical training opportunity cannot take place after your defense date and it cannot delay graduation. While on CPT, you are required to maintain your F-1 status including being enrolled full-time and maintaining a physical presence at Clemson University during required academic terms. Only three online credits may count towards full time enrollment.
What is considered a required internship?
A required internship is an internship that is either required for all students within a program or all students within a track of a program. Academic departments may consider required internship as full-time enrollment.
Am I eligible for CPT based off of thesis/dissertation research?
To be eligible for CPT based off of a thesis/dissertation, the internship must be required for the completion of the thesis or dissertation. In this case, you need to collect data or conduct research through an off-campus work experience specifically to write your thesis or dissertation. Students authorized for research CPT are required to enroll in thesis or dissertation credits.
My program does not require an internship. Am I still eligible to apply for CPT?
Yes, if you are interested in participating in curricular practical training, but your program does not require an internship, you may still be eligible to participate in CPT. There are multiple options available including:
- Internships through the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)
- Cooperative Education Program
- Elective (non-required) internships within your department or college
Students participating in optional internships must enroll in a credit bearing course that aligns with the internship opportunity. If you have an internship opportunity that CPT would not be an option for, you may also want to consider pre-completion OPT.
What are the enrollment requirements?
During required academic terms (fall, spring, (and summer if final term)), students are expected to enroll in a full course load. Departments may consider a required internship to be full time during an academic term. Students participating in CPT must also enroll in a course that aligns with the internship opportunity. If the internship is not required, the course that aligns with the CPT opportunity must be credit-bearing. If summer is not the final term, students are not required to enroll full-time or maintain physical presence.
What is the difference between COOP and internships through the CCPD office?
If you are not participating in a departmental internship course or an internship related to your thesis or dissertation, CCPD will meet with you to review your practical training opportunity and determine the course that best aligns with this experience.
The Cooperative Education Program is designed for multi-rotational experiences while the Internship Program is designed for one-time experiences.
How many hours am I eligible to work while on CPT?
You can engage in one of two types of CPT; either part-time CPT or full-time CPT. If you plan to work a combination of on and off-campus employment, the total number of hours will be reviewed for CPT eligibility. Please see the bullets below for the number of hours you are eligible to work each week while authorized for the two types of CPT:
- Part-time CPT Authorization: 20 hours or less per week
- Full-time CPT Authorization: more than 20 hours per week
* Please note that you are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week on-campus without CPT authorization and up to 28 hours on-campus over recognized University holidays with proper HR approval.
*Students with on-campus employment are limited to part-time CPT during the academic year if participating in a non-required internship opportunity.
Are there limits on CPT participation?
Participation in full-time CPT is limited to one calendar year per academic level. CPT authorization is only available for off-campus employment with the exception of degree-required internships that take place on-campus.
If I utilize my CPT benefit, will I still be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
Students who utilize full-time CPT for 11 months and 28 days or more will lose eligibility for post-completion Optional Practical Training. Those participating in part-time CPT or less than 11 months and 28 days of full- time CPT will not lose eligibility to participate in post-completion OPT.
Can I accept a job offer before CPT is approved?
You can accept a job offer before your CPT is approved, but we encourage you to let your employer know that your eligibility to perform the work is contingent on the CPT approval.
Can I begin working before CPT is approved?
No. If you work prior to receiving your I-20 for CPT or prior to the date authorized for you to begin CPT, then you are considered to be engaging in unauthorized work within the U.S. which will result in the immediate termination of your SEVIS record. Unauthorized work within the U.S. is a serious infraction and can result in loss of future benefits or the ability to remain legally inside the U.S.