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Internships and COOP

Curricular Practical Training

An important benefit under the F-1 student visa classification is called practical training. Practical training offers international students the opportunity to participate in degree-related work experiences, either prior to graduation or upon completion of a degree or certificate program. The University is currently authorized to provide practical training recommendations to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, on behalf of students prior to graduation, in the form of internships and cooperative education work experiences.

Curricular Practical Training is degree-related work authorization granted to an international student prior to graduation. USCIS regulations authorize the University to provide two forms of curricular training: internships and CO-OP work experience.

Immigration and University Guidelines for Participation
  • Students must be matriculated and enrolled on a full-time basis in degree or certificate-granting programs.

  • Students must have been in the U.S., in F-1 student status, for a minimum of one academic year to qualify for curricular practical training. Exception is made for graduate students only, whose studies require immediate participation in curricular practical training (currently not available in any graduate programs at the University of Hartford).

  • The internship or CO-OP experience must be directly related to a degree or certificate program of study.

  • Students must receive credit toward their degree or certificate requirements. An internship program is normally considered to be equivalent to a 3-credit course. A CO-OP experience can range from 1 to 12 credits. In either case, there is some discretion in determining the credit to be granted for the work experience. In some instances, curricular training may include certain types of noncredit training programs; however, the training must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

  • Students enrolled in an internship program may not work more than 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students may work full time during the Summer semester. Students enrolled in an internship must have a combination of work experience and course work which meets the full-time status requirement of their program. Students enrolled in an "alternating" CO-OP experience are expected to work full time and are not required to enroll in additional course work for that semester. They will be considered enrolled on a full-time basis for immigration purposes. Students enrolled in the "parallel" CO-OP program are expected to have a combination of work experience and course work which meets the University's full-time status requirement for their program of study.

  • An internship or CO-OP experience may not be used to extend the stay of a student beyond the normal expected program completion date unless it is a required part of a degree program.

  • Internship and CO-OP programs may not be developed expressly for international students. These programs must be available to all University of Hartford students.

  • Students may not begin curricular practical training until they have received final authorization from the International Center. Students will be considered "out of status" by the USCIS without this approval.

Filing Procedures

A student who wishes to participate in a curricular practical training experience is required to seek authorization from the International Center. The International Center will then notify the USCIS of the student's participation. The following documentation and approvals are required (subject to change by USCIS):

  1. International students who wish to enroll in an internship must seek the approval of their academic advisor or department head. Permission to enroll in a CO-OP program must be granted by the director of CO-OP. In either case, the student's academic advisor must complete the CPT Application Form and submit it to the International Center.

  2. In addition to submitting the completed CPT Application Form, students must also provide a job offer letter on company letterhead, which includes the duties of the position, exact start and end dates of employment, hours per week (full or part-time), and supervisor name, title, address, and phone number. 

  3. The International Center will update the student's I-20 form to indicate that the training has been authorized. The I-20 form will also list the time period for which the Curricular Practical Training authorization is valid. The International Center's endorsement is also required for the student to meet the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requirements of an employer.

  4. Students must submit a registration form to the Registrar's Office indicating enrollment in either a CO-OP experience or internship program.


Curricular practical training of 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time employment. Training above 20 hours per week is considered full-time employment.

* Students who have received one year (12 months) or more of full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion practical training.

* Students enrolled in CO-OP or internship programs may receive financial compensation for employment services rendered.

* An employer does not have to meet Department of Labor "attestation" requirements when employing University students under curricular practical training.

* Students enrolled in the ELI program are NOT eligible for internship or CO-OP work experiences under curricular practical training regulations.

* There is no fee charged by the USCIS or the University to process a curricular practical training request.

* An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is not required from the USCIS.