Graduate Studies

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus job that is directly related to your major and an integral part of your degree program. CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide hands-on practical work experience in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program, prior to completion of that program.  There are two types of CPT defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service:

  1. Everyone in a degree program must do an internship or they will not receive their degree (must enroll in the internship course)
  2. If the internship is not required, then it must be taken for academic credit (which means you must enroll in an internship course offered by your academic department)

This type of work permission is job- and location-specific, so a job offer is required before authorization can be granted. There is no application fee for this type of work and authorization is granted by the Immigration Specialist.



Students that have been in F-1 status for one academic year (2 semesters) at Western Illinois University may apply to participate in this type of training.

Students who have received one year or more of full time CPT are ineligible for optional practical training (practical training immediately after all degree course work has been completed).

Application Procedure

  1. Contact the Immigration Specialist to receive specific information
  2. Register for the internship course prior to receiving permission from the Immigration Specialist.
  3. Return the competed CPT recommendation form signed by your academic/graduate advisor
  4. Present a letter from your employer (on company letterhead) giving the following information:
    • Job title
    • Beginning and ending dates of employment
    • Wage/salary being paid
    • Number of hours per week to be worked
    • Place of employment
    • Brief description of work

The Form I-20 will be endorsed by the Immigration Specialist indicating full-time or part-time CPT has been authorized and list the employer name, location, and employment starting and ending dates.

If you are completing an internship with your department on-campus, you do not need to apply for CPT.