Practical Training for International Students


CIAM’s MBA Program is practical in nature and work experience allows students to strengthen their academic experience with real world comparisons. All students are required to take the Experiential Internship course (INT 599) during their MBA. This course requires that students do an internship or have a job for one term in order to meet graduation requirements. International students can achieve practical experience in two main ways: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). In order to take the INT 599 course, international students will need CPT authorization. Definitions on both these trainings and how international students can qualify can be found to the left. Please see the student catalog for more detailed information. 

"Learning is Experience. Everything else is just information." Albert Einstein

Questions? Click here to ask a International School Official

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training related to your major field of study (paid or unpaid) including employment, internship, cooperative education, and practicum participation. 

Eligibility: CPT may only be authorized while students are enrolled in appropriate coursework that includes applicable internship experience and if such coursework is applicable to their degree program.  

  • Part-time (up to 20 hours per week) or Full-time (20+ hours per week) work.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time in the MBA program and maintain academic and attendance standards. 
  • Be enrolled in the Experiential Internship course (INT 599)
  • Can work during breaks as long as a student is registered for the internship course for the following term and has CPT authorization. 
  • Students must have a job or employment offer that is in a field related to the MBA degree.

More information:

Application guidelines:

Please email the following to your DSO at

  • INT 599 Application (contact the DSO)
  • Employment letter on the company letterhead that includes the job start and end date, brief job description, number of hours working, and supervisor information.   

Additional Requirements/Information:

  • CPT employment must relate to your major.
  • Student will receive a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," that shows  CPT approval for employment on page 2.
  • An F-1 student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving their new Form I-20 with CPT authorization. 
  • If F-1 student participated 12 months or more on full-time CPT, student is ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop F-1 student from doing OPT.

Questions? Click here to ask a DSO

Frequently Asked Questions (CPT)

Frequently Asked Questions (CPT)

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment that is an integral part of your major curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. Optional Practical Training (OPT) is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate.

Do I have to be registered while on CPT?

You must maintain F-1 student status, which generally requires full-time registration. Students are required to register as full-time students while on CPT. CIAM Students must be enrolled in the Experiential Internship course (INT 599) in order to receive CPT authorization. 

Does CPT usage affect OPT eligibility?

You may use as much CPT as is required for your degree program. However, if you use a total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are not eligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.

Do I need to have a job to apply for CPT?

You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.

Can I change the number of hours I work?

You can change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, you may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, if you change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) you must request a new authorization.

Can I change employers?

Since CPT is employer specific you must apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.

Can I extend my CPT?

You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. You must apply for CPT for each individual term.

Do I need a Social Security number?

Yes, you will need a Social Security number in order to receive payment from your employer.

Will I be required to pay Social Security and other taxes?

In general, as an F-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for your first five years in the U.S. as long as you continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.

Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home government, your earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.

Will I receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

No. The CPT authorization on page 2 of your I-20 is your proof of employment eligibility and together with your I-94 record may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by your employer.

If you employer has questions about documentation required for I-9 purposes, please refer them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ “I-9 Central” page, including the section about international students with training authorization.

Questions? Click here to ask a DSO

Applying for OPT

Applying for OPT

Application Procedure:

  1. Download and complete the USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). It is recommended that you type the form. If you choose to hand-write the form, make sure to use black ink and sign the form using black ink. Instructions for completing the form can be found here: Once you complete the form, save it or scan it to a PDF file.
  2. Scan the following documents to PDF files:
    • Your passport photo page
    • Your most recent F-1 visa
    • Your current I-94
    • Copies of your previous I-20s
  3. Submit the CiAM OPT Request Form & your completed Form I-765 to your DSO, including your PDF documents listed above.
  4. Your application will then be reviewed by your DSO and the Registrar for certification of your program completion date. If your application is complete the DSO will issue you a new I-20 with a recommendation for OPT. If there are any concerns regarding your application, you will be notified via your CIAM email address. Application processing time may vary; it may take up to two (2) weeks for your application to be processed during peak times
  5. Gather required application materials:
    • Check or money order for $410 made payable to: Department of Homeland Security
    • Completed Form I-765 (download Form at
    • Photocopies of new I-20 form with OPT recommendation
    • Photocopy of paper I-94 (front/back) or print out of electronic I-94 record
      • If have a passport admission stamp, visit: to access and print out electronic I-94 record.
    • Photocopy of Passport and Visa
    • Two recent passport-style photos on white background
  6. File Form I-765 at one of the official Filing Addresses for Form I-765:
    • For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
      P.O. Box 21281
      Phoenix, AZ 85036
    • For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
      Attn: NFB AOS
      1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100
      Phoenix, AZ 85034

Questions? Click here to ask a DSO

Ask an International School Official

Ask an International School Official

If you have any questions about CPT, OPT, or the application process; please fill out the form below and one of our international student advisors will be on touch soon.

Send Us a Message: