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International Programs

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization granted to students in F-1 status for work that is an “integral part of an established curriculum”.  CPT enables students to apply and practice the knowledge and skills gained in their academic programs.  CPT is granted by the Office of International Programs in accordance with U.S. immigration law. Authorization of CPT includes both academic and immigration components.

Academic Eligibility

Internships must be approved by the appropriate Merrimack department, and students must be registered for the particular academic course that supports the internship.  A student may only engage in CPT if:

  • the student is registered in a credit-bearing internship course; or
  • the work experience is a graduation requirement for the student’s academic program. 

Immigration Eligibility

  • You must currently be maintaining valid F-1 status and must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year before applying for CPT.
  • CPT is authorization is date and employer specific. If you anticipate changes to your internship, (ex: different dates, different employer, etc.) you must first obtain authorization from the Office of International Programs.
  • There is no limit on the amount of time you can be authorized for CPT.  However, if you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT you will lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Students register for CPT through the Office of International Programs and should begin by completing the CPT application form.