CPT in the PhD Program

The PhD program permits a student to begin CPT in the first semester of study for those students who are deemed eligible to do so, as determined by the SEVIS PDSO at the time of enrollment.  A student’s CPT internship experience or employment must relate to the student’s program of study and may be part-time or full-time.

You may apply for CPT authorization for the first two (2) semesters of your program at one time (Fall 2019 and Spring 2020).  Prior to completion of your second semester, you may apply for an extension of your CPT for one (1) additional semester.  During this time, you must be enrolled full time (2 courses) in the required 18 semester hours of doctor-level coursework to be eligible for CPT.


After completion of your 18 semester hours of doctor-level coursework, you will enter the Research Seminar Milestone of the program.  If you plan to extend your CPT during the research seminar milestone you must submit the following for review and approval by the PDSO: 1) A written statement as to why CPT is necessary for completion of your research 2) A copy of your unofficial transcript 3) Name of your Academic Advisor. If approved, CPT will be granted for the period of 1 (one) semester.


A doctoral student that completes all coursework and enters the thesis/dissertation phase of the program may be considered for CPT if the work experience is clearly documented as necessary for completion of the thesis or dissertation, as determined by the Primary Designated School Official. If you plan to extend your CPT during the thesis/dissertation phase of the program you must submit the following for review and approval by the PDSO: 1) A copy of your approved proposal 2) Name of your Academic Advisor.


OPT in the PhD Program:

To be eligible for OPT (Optional Practical Training), you must:

  1. Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year
  2. Currently be maintaining a full-time program of study and valid F-1 status
  3. Work in a job directly related to your major field of stud
  4. Have participated in less than 12 months of full time CPT at the PhD level of study