Policy and Information on CPT for CS International Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of F-1 immigration status that permits off-campus employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum or which is required for graduation for all students in a particular educational program.

ISSS CPT Information:

CPT is typically authorized to allow a student to complete an internship, practicum or field experience that is necessary for degree completion or that will help the student satisfy the academic objectives of the program.  An internship which is not required by a student’s degree program but may be completed on an elective basis will be approved for CPT only if all of the below criteria are met:

  • You receive academic credit which will be applied toward meeting degree requirements.
  • It is related to your major field of study.
  • It is an integral part of your studies.

Other important guidelines to consider about CPT:

  • Students in F-1 status are not eligible to begin any type of off-campus employment, whether it is paid or unpaid, without prior authorization.
  • Employment is a “benefit” and available only to students who maintain valid F-1 status prior to the application and through the duration of authorized employment.
  • ISSS will authorize CPT only for periods beginning and ending prior to completion of the student’s course of study.
  • CPT will be approved for one semester at a time; should the student need to participate in an internship or practicum longer in duration than one semester, the student must reapply for another separate CPT authorization for an additional semester.

CPT (F-1 Students) Student Employment Information

Dept. CPT Information

Eligible students (see ISSS CPT Eligibility Requirements) may enroll in COMP 892 (with prior approval) and receive 0.5 academic credit for educational experience gained while employed outside of the CS Department.  This is commonly taken during the summer sessions.

To enroll in COMP 892/CPT you must do the following:

  1. Apply for CPT through OISSS:
    CPT Application Process & Checklist

    1. Application Checklist for CPT
    2. CPT Request Form
      1. Under PART 2, Section b of this form, the most common choice is the 2nd choice (The proposed employment is required by a course in which the student will receive academic credit towards graduation).
  2. Bring or email a copy of the completed & signed CPT Request Form to the Student Services Coordinator (jogregor@cs.unc.edu, FB 142).  Original completed & signed form goes to ISSS.
  3. The student services coordinator will enroll you in COMP 892 under your adviser’s section number (referred to as instructor in the course description).

Course Information Needed for ISSS:

892 Practicum (0.5). Permission of the instructor. Work experience in an area of computer science relevant to the student’s research interests and pre-approved by the instructor. The grade, pass or fail only, will depend on a written report by the student and on a written evaluation by the employer.

NOTE:  Instructor would be the student’s adviser.

The UNC-CH Department of Computer Science Policy on Curriular Practical Traning (CPT) During the Semester:

On occasion, an international student not funded by the department asks to be allowed to work externally for pay (or to be allowed such an arrangement instead of being paid by the department).

Our general policy will be that:

(1) the student demonstrates that the work is somehow related to their coursework or program of study (and is not just a random job)

(2) the student further demonstrates that they can complete at least the MSc within four total semesters (for a student prior admission to PhD candidacy).  More generally we require that the student be on-track with respect to “sufficient academic progress” milestones for PhD candidates.

(3) International students on a student visa are required to maintain full-time (or full-time equivalent) registration.