CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, can allow a student to undertake off-campus training that is an integral part of an established curriculum.

Clarifying this further, CPT can be defined as an alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship/practicum arrangement offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.

CPT ‘training’ must be in the form of a temporary internship and be based on either of the following criteria: 

  1. The training is a requirement for a particular course or to acquire needed data for PhD dissertation research (CPT through the Academic Department)   OR

  2. The training is approved as experiential learning and processed through the University Career Center (CPT through the University Career Center)

All CPT workshops dates can be found on our CPT Workshop Page and on our ISSO Calendar.   

Additionally, feel free to review the CPT Powerpoint Presentation used in our Workshop.

The process of applying for CPT depends on your specific situation. Read over the content below, and select correctly from the two CPT application routes below:

  1. CPT through the University Career Center
    • Who uses this application - Bachelors or Masters students who are not requesting academic credit for their internship.
    • How to apply - Login to the Career Center Experience system and follow the CPT instructions.
  2. CPT through the Academic Department
    • Who uses this application - Any student who will obtain academic credit for their internship and all PhD students requesting internships who meet the criteria. 
    • How to apply - Follow the CPT via the Academic Department application instructions.
Job offer letter requirements (required for either type of CPT)

The sample CPT job offer template (MS Word) may be used as a guide.

  • Written on company letterhead
  • Contain prospective CPT employer's name
  • Physical location/address of proposed internship (no P.O. Boxes)
  • Start date of employment (view the important dates below)
  • End date of employment (view the important dates below)
  • Number of work hours per week
  • Will you participate in this internship remotely while you are outside the U.S.?
    If yes, your job offer letter must include this statement - “The student will participate in a remote internship while maintaining a full course load through UNC Charlotte and while remaining outside the U.S. We acknowledge that it is up to the student and the employer to investigate and fulfill any taxation or U.S. or foreign country regulatory requirements due to the student’s physical location.”​
The processing time for a CPT application is 10 business days. Students must allow at least 10 business days for processing time prior to the start of any internship. 
We no longer require internships to be a minimum length.  We recognize that even short, project based internships (gigternships) can provide a valuable experience that enhances your education.

Deadlines

  Fall 2022 Spring 2023 Summer 2023
Date application opens July 15 Nov 11  
Apply by this date to work on the FIRST day of the semester
*Applications submitted after this date will still be accepted, but the CPT will begin after the start date of the semester.
Aug 1 Dec 2  
Semester CPT dates

*Aug 22 - Dec 16 (fall 2022 graduates)

**Aug 22 - Jan 6, 2023 (students continuing enrollment at the same level in spring 2023)

Jan 9 - May 12  May 15 - Aug 18
Students interested in CPT must:
 
  • have been enrolled fulltime, or with an approved immigration reduced course load, in your current program of study for the past 2 consecutive semesters (excluding summer) in an immigration status that permits a full course of study (i.e. not H-1 or OPT status)
    • CPT after OPT policy - We require that students finishing OPT must complete 1 semester at their new academic level before participating in CPT if participating in OPT created a semester or more 'gap' in enrollment.
  • hold valid F1 status at the time of application
  • be in good academic standing
  • prove how the internship is an integral part of an established curriculum, a required component of a course in their major field of study OR how the internship is a required component for a Ph.D. student to complete dissertation research. Students participating in CPT for course credit must include proof of enrollment in the internship course in their application.

*Regulations allow for DSO (university F-1 immigration advisor) discretion to approve or deny CPT applications based on student’s academic progress, degree completion, and other considerations.

CPT authorization is not a sufficient reason to drop below the fulltime study requirement for F1 students, nor delay graduation or interfere with normal academic progress. Therefore, CPT employment authorization is restricted to part-time (20 hrs/week) during fall/spring semesters with exceptions limited to those listed below.  Online course enrollment is limited to 3 credit hours per semester and is not an option for students who have one course remaining in their degree program.

Fulltime CPT employment may be authorized only under the following circumstances:

  • Summer break
  • Fall/spring semesters ONLY for:
    • Master’s students who are enrolled in only ONE class, which should be their final class (in their final term), and that class (an internship class) has a fulltime work requirement, OR
    • Doctoral students in dissertation status who have successfully completed all coursework requirements, defended dissertation proposal, and require an internship to further their research toward dissertation defense

All in-person CPT assignments for fall/spring semesters must be located within a 1.5 hour driving distance from the University : 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223 while students are enrolled in coursework. Summer CPT is not restricted by location.

Remote assignments, where a student may perform work while living in Charlotte, are possible as long as documentation from the employer can be provided to support how the work will be supervised (which technology will be used) and how often.

The ISSO limits students to participating in up to 20 hours total of paid employment per week (between CPT and on-campus employment combined) during the fall and spring semesters.

NOTE: Ph.D. students whose CPT is required for their dissertation and who have completed all required coursework may be exempt from the fall/spring 20 hour/week combined CPT + on-campus employment limit.  Additional permission may be required through the Graduate School for students receiving graduate funding.