Following the completion of one full academic year (two semesters) as a full-time student, those holding F-1 status may apply for the benefit of obtaining practical experience in their field of study.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Practical training is considered part of the student's academic curriculum and is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if it meets one of the following requirements:
• The practical training is part of an internship course required of all students in the student’s educational program;
• The student will register for and receive academic credit for the training;
• The training directly contributes to the student’s thesis or dissertation research; or
• The student’s school has entered into a cooperative agreement with the organization providing the training.
This form of practical training, because it is so closely tied to the student’s program of study, is authorized directly by ISSS. CPT is only available during the student’s program of study and requires a specific position.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Another form of practical training is also available to students in F-1 status and is also closely tied to the student’s field of study, but is not directly related to a specific part of the curriculum. Because it is not required of any student in the 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 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 for the student to maintain F-1 status.
Because OPT is not an expected part of the student’s program of study, it requires authorization from outside Emory University on the part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.