Internship and Off-Campus Employment Options


Curricular Practical Training


What is CPT? NAFSA regulations state that curricular practical training (CPT) must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” They define curricular practical training as “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.” (NAFSA Adviser’s Manual)


Optional Practical Training


What is OPT? Optional practical training (OPT) is defined in NAFSA regulations as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.”


The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a fulltime basis at a Department of Homeland Security-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT. OPT is available both before and after completion of the educational objective, but different rules apply to pre- and post-completion OPT.

Students may engage in OPT for any employer for the duration of OPT authorization as long as the employment qualifies under OPT standards.


Standard OPT is available for a cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level. OPT must be directly related to the student’s course of study.


No offer of employment is required to apply for standard OPT, but the student is expected to work during the OPT EAD validity period. Students on post-completion OPT are limited to a maximum of 90 days of unemployment.


An appointment must be made with the International Student Advisor to go over the required documentation, forms, and fees that are necessary to apply.