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Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular practical training is defined as any required or optional internship that is an integral part of the established curriculum for a program of study. Only internships that are directly related to the course curriculum qualify as curricular practical training and can be either an optional or required part of the program.
Please note that the CPT is not a right but it is a privilege given by the ECE Department to international students. The main goal of the international students attending a graduate program in the United States is studying toward a degree not to work. Some institutions, such as SDSU, allow students to work as interns off campus as part of their curriculum. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the terms and conditions of the CPT are determined by the degree-granting institutions.

Requirements Specific to Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

General Requirements

Be in good standing by having an SDSU, overall and program GPA of at least 3.0 and has made progress towards the degree.  Note that progress towards the degree implies that a student has his/her Program of Study (POS) on file and will be enrolled in EE799A to complete the thesis (Plan A). The student must enroll in EE795 (one unit) for CPT.

Summer CPT:

The student must have completed at least 18 units of coursework and enroll in EE795 (one unit) in one of the summer sessions. Students may work up to 40 hours per week during summer. Out-of-state internship locations are allowed during summer. Plan B students are NOT allowed to use CPT.

Academic Year CPT:

In an academic year, students who meet the General Requirement mentioned above and the criteria below can work only 20 hours per week, unless they have a written consent from their thesis advisor. The following criteria are the requirements for 20 hours per week CPT:

1. For Plan A students: Have received a satisfactory grade in at least 21 units of coursework in the Program of Study and a RP or CR in 6 units of Research. Have at least 75% of the thesis report completed. This will require written approval by the thesis advisor to the Graduate Advisor. Students may not use CPT if enrolling in EE799B.

2. If the student has completed his/her required number of units according to the Program of Study, they must register for EE795 (one unit).

3. The location of the internship must be within driving distance from SDSU during an academic year.

Please note that using the CPT in each semester (including summer), the student will need to obtain separate offer letters stating the beginning and ending dates of the internships. Please look at the SDSU Academic Calendar to indicate the correct beginning and ending dates of each semester.

4. For Plan B students: Plan B students are not allowed to use CPT.

Content of the Offer Letter

Offer letter must contain the beginning and ending dates of the internship, the job description, hours per week, and the pay rates (per hour). The letter must be original and written on the letterhead of the company. For each working period (Summer, Fall or Spring semester) a separate letter must be provided.

Application and Processing Time Periods

There is no specific application period for the CPT. Students who satisfy the aforementioned requirements must allow enough time after obtaining the job offer for administrative processes as follows:

1. Give the offer letter and the completed CPT form to the ECE Department office. The Graduate Advisor will review the letters and make a decision on whether the student satisfies the requirements or not. If the student is eligible for the CPT, the Graduate Advisor will sign the CPT form.

2. Once the signed CPT form is ready, you will be notified by the ECE Department office. Then you can enroll in EE795 (adding after the add/drop deadline will require a petition to late add EE795 late and could take an additional 7-10 business days).

3. Contact the International Student Center (ISC) for an appointment (619-594-1982). Pick up the signed CPT form from the ECE Department office and take it to ISC, along with a valid passport, I-94 Form, SEVIS I-20, complete address of the company and the job offer letter to ISC for final approval (2-3 business days).



Plan ahead as there are no same day appointments and the process could take as long as 5-7 business days!  The employment may not begin until the training has been authorized. Under no circumstances will the CPT be backdated to include illegal work done before it was authorized. SDSU follows the United States Immigration Law on the CPT. For more information about the law please see the Immigration and Custom Enforcement website

Additional information may be found on the International Student Center web site