Following the completion of one full academic year (two semesters) as a full-time student, if in F-1 status, you may apply for the benefit of obtaining practical experience in your field of study. (Note: If you enter the U.S. using a new SEVIS record following the termination of a previous record for whatever reason, you must complete an additional academic year of full-time study in order to become eligible for practical training.)
Practical training is considered part of your academic curriculum and is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if it meets one of the following requirements:
• the practical training is required of all students in your program of study;
• you will register for and receive academic credit for the training;
• the training directly contributes to your thesis or dissertation research; or
• your school has previously entered into a cooperative agreement with the organization providing the training.
Because this form of practical training is so closely tied to your program of study, it is authorized directly by ISSS. CPT is only available during your program of study and requires a specific position.
Another form of practical training is also available to students in F-1 status and is also closely tied to your field of study, but is not directly related to a specific part of the curriculum. Because it is not required by your program of study, it is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). This form of practical training is available both during the program of study (pre-completion) and following completion of the program of study (post-completion). It is limited to part-time placement while classes are in session but may be authorized for a full-time placement post-completion of program, during the summer vacation, or during other periods when classes are not in session. No position is required at the time the practical training permission is requested; however, an eventual placement is required for post-completion OPT in order to maintain F-1 status.
Because OPT is not an expected part of your program of study, it requires authorization from outside Emory University on the part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.