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Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) / ENG 510 Course Policy

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is for international graduate students who:

  • Are on an F-1 visa
  • Have completed one year of academic coursework, and
  • For whom temporary off-campus employment during the course of their university enrollment is directly related to their major field of study and an integral or important part of their program of study

Part-time CPT is 20 hours a week or less, while full-time CPT is more than 20 hours per week. Full-time CPT during the fall or spring term is approved in exceptional cases. For more information on CPT rules and regulations, click here.

In order to pursue CPT, international students are required to complete the CPT application and have it approved at each level: department, college*, and ISSS (*international students only need college approval if registering for ENG 510). International students cannot formally accept an internship without having their CPT approved at each level. In addition, international students are required to register for the appropriate CPT course. Per federal policy, failure to register for the course by the stated deadline may result in the student's F-1 visa being terminated.

  • Professional and Non-thesis Master's students pursuing CPT must register for ENG 510.
  • Master's with Thesis and Ph.D. students pursuing full- or part-time CPT during the summer term or part-time CPT during the fall or spring term may register for thesis research, 599, or ENG 510. These students pursuing full-time CPT during the fall or spring term must register for ENG 510. Please note that students pursuing part-time CPT are limited to 20 hours per week of work authorization, including on campus (assistantships or hourly) employment.

NOTE: Students who register for thesis credits must have their thesis topic and/or title on the CPT application form and must include an explanation for why the CPT training is necessary for their research. In addition, students must work with their home department regarding their registration policies for 599 credit hours being used for CPT.

In addition, the following policies are enforced with CPT:

  • CPT cannot be backdated and cannot start until all approvals at each level are granted and course registration is completed.
  • Students can only work on CPT for the dates listed on their new I-20 and cannot start their employment without having the I-20 in hand. The employment must also end on the date specified on the CPT I-20.
  • Students cannot change employers without completing a new CPT application form.
  • CPT authorization can only be given for one year at a time. Students who complete more than 12 months of full-time CPT will not be eligible for OPT.


ENG 510 Course Policies

Students must seek approval from The Grainger College of Engineering Office of Graduate, Professional and Online Programs to register for ENG 510 for their CPT by completing the ENG 510 Registration Request form and uploading the offer letter including start and end dates. Students who are approved to register for ENG 510 must adhere to the course policies below. No exceptions will be given.

  • CPT must be directly related to their major field of study and an integral or important part of their program of study.
  • Fall/Spring full-time CPT must be at least 10-weeks at more than 20 hours per week.  
  • Students who complete a part-time CPT during the fall and spring term need to be located within the Champaign-Urbana area and be registered as a full-time student (on top of registration in ENG 510).
  • ENG 510 approval will only be given one semester at a time.
  • No full-time CPT will be approved for ENG 510 in the student's last semester. Exceptions will be made for programs with an internship/practicum option for their professional development degree requirement.
  • Internship dates must fall within the dates of the given semester as outlined below:
    • Fall term — August 16 through December 31
    • Spring term — January 1 through May 15
    • Summer term — May 16 (or the first day of summer term) through August 15
  • Students approved for part-time CPT during the fall or spring term must remain in Champaign-Urbana and must use their local address on ENG 510 Request form.
  • Students who fail to register prior to the start of the semester will be charged all on-campus fees for the semester. Students located in the Champaign-Urbana area will be charged on-campus fees for the semester.
  • Students must be approved and registered prior to 10th day of term for fall and spring term. Students must be approved and registered prior to July 1 for summer term.
  • Students must check their Illinois email account on a regular basis for any course announcements. In addition, students must complete one required assignment by "Reading Day" of the semester. Failure to complete the assignment by the deadline will result in an unsatisfactory (U) grade.

Step-by-Step CPT Checklist

Click for a step-by-step checklist for pursuing and completing CPT. Students must complete the steps in the indicated order.

Watch the ENG 510-CPT Policy Workshop for helpful information and FAQ’s about the policy and registration process.