Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is a type of work authorization for eligible F-1 international students to participate in paid off-campus internships before graduation. However, it should not prevent the student from making reasonable progress towards the degree. The Office of International Services (OIS) provides additional information on their website that all graduate students should also be aware of.

International students should review the following CPT information prior to applying for CPT.

View Understanding CPT Slide DeckMS and PhD Students View Understanding CPT PresentationMS and PhD Students

Eligibility Requirements

Time at USC

Maintained full-time F-1 student status for at least one academic year.
If you attended undergraduate or Master's programs at a U.S. Institution, you may be eligible for CPT earlier.
Please see a VASE advisor in OHE-106 and OIS CPT Website for more information.

Graduate GPA



Minimum GPA requirement to apply for a CPT:
Fall/Spring CPT: 3.0 +
Summer CPT: 2.75+

Online Training

Master's Students Only

Master's students must complete the Career Success Path (CPT Requirement) in the Experience Viterbi App via the link below:

Career Success Path

Progressive Degree Program (PDP)

Students are waived out of the Online Training requirement.

PhD Students


CPT cannot be approved for a PhD student who has applied or is planning to apply for a program extension unless the CPT directly supports research or writing the dissertation. In which case, you MUST upload a written explanation from your advisor along with your offer letter. Applications submitted without this document will be denied.

Student That Have

Fulfilled Degree Requirements

You may be eligible to take an internship with a 3/4 unit course enrollment in your final semester before your I-20 end date. Internships are not an acceptable reason for a Program Extension.

CPT Application Process

Additional Information

Hours and Location of Employment

If it’s your final semester, you can work full-time if your course enrollment is no more than 4 credits (not including CPT credit). 10-20 hours per week is considered part-time and 21-40 per week is considered full-time.

  • Full-time CPT (1 class and 1 internship class)
  • Part-time CPT

If it’s NOT your final semester, you can only work part-time with full-time course enrollment

  • Full-time CPT
  • Part-time CPT (full-time class enrollment)
**Students cannot take academic difficulty RCL with CPT simultaneously.

Location:

  • Work must be in the L.A area if your class enrollment is more than 4 credits.
  • Remote CPTs are not allowed. Exceptions are made for MS students who are continuing with the same company from a prior CPT experience.
  • PhD students must have passed the Qualifying Examination and be enrolled in Dissertation units in order to work outside the Los Angeles area during the Fall and Spring Semesters, or to be eligible for full-time CPT.
  • PhD students cannot hold a 50% assistantship during the Fall or Spring semesters and be approved for CPT.