M.S. in Data Science

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) FAQ

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
Curricular Practical Training (or, “CPT”) is off-campus work authorization (paid or unpaid) for international students. In the Data Science and Business Analytics Master’s programs (professional hybrid), experiential learning/CPT is required throughout for the completion of the degree. This means that international students enrolled in these master’s degree programs must work in a field related to their study to satisfy the degree requirements of the program students throughout the program.

In order to ensure that the selected employment experience is appropriate, all CPT must be approved both by an academic advisor and a Designated School Official (“DSO”) of Saint Peter’s.

What is Saint Peter’s policy covering CPT?
Saint Peter’s CPT policy can be reviewed here (link to policy page on website).

How does a student apply for CPT?
A student must complete and sign the CPT Application and provide the following to both the student’s academic advisor and Office of International Student Services for approval

  • A completed and signed Cooperative Agreement from the employer
  • An official signed offer letter from the employer to the student on company letterhead
  • A detailed job description on company letterhead listing the job title and responsibilities for the CPT position

Contact the Office of International Student Services with questions and for the specific forms and details of the approval process.

Do I need to apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for CPT?
No. CPT is approved by the student’s advisor and the Office of International Student Services.

Does CPT affect my eligibility for Optional Practical Training?
Provided a student does not participate in full-time CPT for longer than 12 months, his/her eligibility for OPT is not affected.

How many hours per week can my position be under CPT?
F-1 students enrolled full time in the MS in Data Science or Business Analytics (Professional Hybrid) are eligible for either part-time or full-time CPT. However please note that 12 months or more of full time CPT renders a student ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

– Part-Time Practical Training

  • Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are also enrolled for classes is considered “part-time” CPT. There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training, but you must be simultaneously enrolled as a full-time student at Saint Peter’s University in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

– Full-Time Practical Training

  • Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered “full-time” CPT. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time curricular practical training, but you must be simultaneously enrolled as a full-time student at Saint Peter’s University in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. Please note that taking 12 months or more of CPT will render you ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

What is a Cooperative Practical Training Agreement?

The Cooperative Practical Training Agreement is an agreement between Saint Peter’s University and each employer who offers a CPT-qualified position to any F-1 student enrolled in the executive MS Data Science or Business Analytics (Professional Hybrid) programs. The agreement details that as the supervisor you understand that the student’s internship/practical training with your organization is contingent on the following:

  • The position must be an integral part of the student’s course of study.
  • The position must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
  • The student’s employment may only work within the authorized CPT dates as listed on the I-20.
  • The work must be performed at a designated worksite location.
  • If the student is approved for part-time CPT, the student can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • If the student is approved for full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week) and does not work more than 20 hours per week, the experience will nonetheless count as “full-time” for immigration reporting purposes (and may affect the student’s ability to participate in post-degree OPT).
  • If the student’s part-time or full-time status changes, the student must submit written confirmation from the employer of such change (including the effective date for the change), in order for the update to be reflected on the I-20. No change may take place until the date specified on the updated I-20.
  • The student must maintain lawful F-1 status.
  • The student must maintain a full course of study, and that participation in CPT will not delay the student’s completion of their respective academic program.

When and how must a student renew CPT?
CPT must be renewed each academic year. The completion of the CPT renewal form documents a student’s continuation of an approved internship or practical training program that has been identified as an integral part of the student’s respective degree program. By completing this renewal form, the student and his/her practical training supervisor are acknowledging that this is a continuation of a collaborative practical training agreement with Saint Peter’s University.

How does an F1 student apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?
Students are only eligible to apply for an SSN if he/she has a job offer letter and work permission. Please note, F-2 dependents are not eligible for an SSN. To apply the student must be in the US and apply with the local SSN office no earlier than 30 days before the start date of employment as recorded on their form I-20. When submitting the application, the student must provide their form I-20 and employment letter.

How long can a student work when participating in CPT?
Students can work on either full-time or part-time CPT. There is no limit to the length of time a student can participate in CPT; however, if the student has more than 11 months and 29 days or more of full-time CPT, they are ineligible for OPT. There is no limit to part-time CPT participation and OPT eligibility.

Do international students need work authorization before being hired?
No. International students must have the work authorization before they begin actual employment, but not before they are offered employment. In fact, F-1 students must have a written job offer in order to apply for CPT participation.

Do F1 students pay taxes if they are earning income?
Unless exempted by a tax treaty, F‐1 and J‐1 students earning income under practical training are subject to applicable federal, state, and local income taxes. Information on tax and tax treaties may be found in Internal Revenue Services.

What is OPT and OPT STEM extension?
Find more information HERE.

Where can I find more information regarding the United States regulations for CPT?
For additional information please reference the website for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department of Homeland Security
For additional information please reference the website for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The US Code of Federal Regulations here and here

What happens if I am authorized for CPT and then I lose my position or something about the position changes (e.g., location, hours, employer, job description, etc.)
Students must report any change in employment immediately to a DSO in order to ensure their SEVIS records remain accurate. Any student not actively employed in a role related to the degree can satisfy the experiential learning requirement by research practicum. See your academic advisor for details.

Can I work for a company other than my CPT employer/placement or outside of the authorized dates?
No. CPT is authorized for a specific employer/placement company and location. CPT is also date-specific. You may not begin work until the start date of the CPT authorization and must stop working on or before the end date of the authorization. If you anticipate a change in your CPT employer/placement (or need to begin earlier or work later than the dates for which you have been authorized) you must request a change to your CPT authorization from your academic department and from the Office of International Student Services. Until and unless this change is approved, you cannot work at another location, begin earlier or work beyond your authorization.

Can a student changing programs continue CPT?
Students changing programs will need to complete a new CPT application, obtain all necessary approvals and be issued a new I-20 by the Office of International Student Services. The CPT employment cannot begin before the start date of the term of the new program.

Can I request more than one period of CPT?
Yes, but for every period of CPT, the student must submit all documents required to request CPT and seek approval from his or her academic advisor and the Office of International Student Services.

What does a student do if their employer will not sign the Cooperative Practical Training Agreement Form?
The cooperative agreement serves as the employer’s acknowledgement that they understand the rules and regulations required of an F1 student participating in CPT, and that they have verified that the training opportunity directly relates to the student’s program of study.
In maintaining US immigration compliance, the university requires a signed Cooperative Practical Training Agreement Form from all employers and will not issue an I-20 for CPT without one.

My employer has asked me to work remotely. Is this permitted under CPT?
CPT authorization is intended to facilitate off-campus opportunities that resemble classroom instruction, albeit in a more practical context. A key characteristic of such an experience is a supervisory relationship, consisting of regular assignment and evaluation of deliverables. Practical Training also implies meaningful immersion in a professional environment.
Students who request CPT for remote positions should keep detailed documentation establishing (1) the existence of a supervisory relationship throughout their period of authorization, and (2) how they achieved professional immersion despite working remotely.

How can a student obtain a copy of their CPT application and Cooperative Practical Training Agreement Form?
Once a CPT application has been approved the student will receive an approval notification via email. The student can then save this email as documentation of their CPT application for that semester. Additionally, students are required to upload a signed copy of the cooperative agreement for each initial CPT application. It is advised that students also retain a copy of this document for future reference.

What does a student need to do if they are no longer working while on CPT?
Students must notify a DSO immediately after a CPT opportunity ends so that the CPT placement can be removed from the student’s SEVIS record. If the student is not sure of which DSO to contact, he or she can email the DSO that is listed on their current I-20 document.