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CPT for International Students

CPT, or Curricular Practical Training, gives international students authorization to gain employment training and to work in paid internship positions. Students have a chance to work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours or less per week) earning money in US dollars and gaining work experience in their area of interest.

Qualities of an experience eligible for CPT:

  • Can be paid or unpaid
  • Can be anywhere in the United States (does not have to be local)
  • Can be part-time or full-time
  • Must be relevant to the student’s major/program of study
  • Requires that a student be enrolled in an internship course. If an internship course is not available in a student’s major, then the student may seek approval to enroll in the non-credit COOP program.

For more information about the CPT process, please visit the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs website or view this information sheet

CPT Approval Process

Below are the steps an international student should take to receive CPT approval for their internship or co-op:

  1. Receive an official internship offer. International students may participate in the internship/co-op search process just like any other student. Once the student applies, interviews, and receives an offer, the student will begin the CPT approval process by submitting their experience on Handshake. 
  2. Submit internship information on Handshake “Experiences.” Access to Handshake is available through the MyGeorgiaSouthern homepage. Once in Handshake, select “Career Center” and then “Experiences.” After selecting “Request an Experience”, students should select a form for their college/major/concentration. If a specific form is not available, complete the form titled “International Students – General Internship and Co-op Application.” *Note: Depending on the student’s major, there may be additional steps outside of Handshake as well.
  3. Upload an official offer letter into “Experiences” in the Attachments section. The offer letter should be from the employer and should include the start and end date, an overview of basic job duties and job title, and any other relevant information about the employer. To upload the offer letter, submit an “Experiences” application first, and then go back into the submitted experience and use the “Attachments” feature on the left side. 
  4. Wait for the experience to be reviewed and approved by the department and other relevant parties. The experience details, job offer, and any other relevant information will be reviewed by the Department Chair or another relevant faculty member in the student’s program of study. If the internship is to be completed for non-credit, the experience will also be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning (Caitlyn Cofer: in the Office of Career and Professional Development.
  5. Experience is approved and the student applies for CPT in the ISSS portal. Once the student receives their official approval email from Handshake, the student will submit a formal CPT application in the ISSS portal, upload their approved experience, and include the final approver (listed in their approval email) as the “Recommender.” The recommender will then approve one last time, and the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs will process the request and provide the student with a new I-20. 

For more information, consult the Office of International Admissions and Programs.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which international students should report their internship in “Experiences”?
    All international students! “Experiences” can be used to both report an internship or co-op that a student already has started to make it part of a student’s profile on Handshake for employers, and to request credit or non-credit internship or co-op hours for an upcoming experience. For students requesting approval for an upcoming experience, reporting to Handshake Experiences is STEP ONE in the process for CPT approval.
  • Which “Experiences” application should an international student complete?
     Depending on the student’s major or college, there may be a major or college-specific application for them. If one is available (i.e. Business and Public Health), the international student should complete the application. If the student does not see a specialized application for their major or college, then an international student should fill out the “International Student – General Internship and Co-op Application.” This general form designed specifically for international students is for non-credit and credit for all majors that do not have a specialized form.
  • How can a student view the status of their application?
    To check on the status of a student’s experience, the student may back into their application. The status will be available on the overview of the experience at the top right. When clicking on the experience, students will also be able to see where they are in the approval process, if there are any notes or messages, and ask questions about their status.
  • What other forms or documentation are needed for approval in Handshake “Experiences”?
    Depending on the student’s major, other forms may be required in Handshake or even outside of Handshake. After the student completes their Experiences application, they will receive further instruction about the next steps. ALL students are also required to upload their job offer that includes their proposed start date, information about the position, and contact information for the company and/or supervisor.
  • What if a student has a question about their experience or application?
    The best thing for a student to do is to go back into Experiences and to their application. In their dashboard, they’ll see a “Comments and Activity” section. In that section, they can ask any question and all approvers attached to that form will be notified and have the opportunity to respond to them.
  • When should a student submit their CPT form in the ISSS portal?
    A student should submit their CPT form in the ISSS portal after one of two things: 1) they receive an approval email from Handshake regarding their experience, or 2) they receive an email from a faculty member informing them that they are approved and ready to apply.

Last updated: 9/21/2022