CPT for Undergraduates

CPT for Undergraduate Students

For an internship to qualify for CPT, your employment must be deemed as integral to your academic concentration. 

To be eligible to apply for CPT you must: 

  • be in lawful F 1 status; 
  • have been enrolled as a full time student for at least one academic year; 
  • have declared a concentration; 
  • have an employment offer; 
  • develop and enroll in an independent study course based on your internship experience, OR 
  • have approval for the internship to count as part of a professional track* requirement. 
    *Currently the Applied Math, Computer Science, Economics, and Engineering concentrations offer professional tracks that require internships. 

CPT workshops are offered each semester. If you have any follow up questions after attending the workshop, please schedule an appointment with an OISSS advisor.

Steps to apply for CPT: 


Request an offer letter from your employer (on letterhead) which includes the following information:

  • specific start and end dates of employment
  • location of employment
  • state number of work hours per week
  • statement clarifying that the offer is not for a permanent position
  • employer signature (required)



Professional Track Students After declaring and being approved for “Professional Track” within your concentration in ASK, you will need to obtain approval for this internship to count toward the track requirement.
Please note: professional track internships must be full-time and at least one month in length. Students are limited to using six months of CPT for professional track internships.

Enter your internship information in ASK under Declarations > CPT Request and upload your employment offer letter (instructions here). Your concentration advisor will be notified to review your CPT request. When your advisor has approved your internship, notification will be available to you in ASK and also electronically submitted to OISSS.

Non-Professional Track Students – Plan an independent study course related to your internship and concentration, and obtain faculty and Dean of the College (DOC) approval by following the steps below:

1. DOC Advising: Schedule an advising meeting with Provost Asabe Poloma at [email protected] to discuss and review your plans for CPT Independent Study. Bring a copy of your employment offer letter.

2. Identify Faculty Sponsor: Identify a faculty member to approve and supervise an independent study course in your concentration. A Faculty Sponsor must hold a teaching appointment at Brown and have applicable knowledge of the proposed topic. The Faculty Sponsor assesses the proposal, advises the independent study, meets regularly with the student, and is responsible for evaluating each student's work.

3. Develop an Independent Study Proposal: In cooperation with Faculty Sponsor, define the topic and primary reading material of your independent study course, and how the course relates to your proposed internship. The proposal must include: 

  • Full description of your internship
  • Full description of the CPT independent study course including learning goals, connection to the internship and concentration
  • Name of faculty sponsoring the independent study and the course number
  • How often student and faculty sponsor will meet/communicate
  • Layout of the semester schedule (weekly or biweekly) including readings and assignments to be completed. The proposal can be a partial draft but it should demonstrate careful deliberation has been given to the learning goals, connection to internship and concentration.

 4. Faculty Sponsor Approval: Request that your Faculty Sponsor submit approval of your independent study proposal to Provost Poloma and OISSS: brown.edu/go/CPTfacultyapproval

5. Concentration Advisor Approval: The CPT independent study course must be deemed integral to your concentration study by your concentration advisor. Provide your concentration advisor with a copy of your employment offer letter and independent study proposal for review. Then request that your concentration advisor submits approval to Provost Poloma and OISSS: brown.edu/go/CPTfacultyapproval

6. DOC Plan Approval: Email a copy of your employment offer letter and independent study proposal to Provost Poloma at [email protected]. Provost Poloma will email you, involved faculty and OISSS when the plan is approved. Please allow 5 business days for review and final approval.


Once all supporting documentation has been submitted by you and your concentration advisor, OISSS will issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization. Please allow 5-10 business days for processing.


Professional Track Students: Write a reflective essay (see your department website for details). Upload your reflective essay in ASK under Declarations > edit Program Plan. Scroll down to Non-Course Requirements and upload the file in the Post-Internship Reflective Essay field.
Non-Professional Track Students: Register for and successfully complete independent study course. Failure to complete the independent study course will cause you to be ineligible for future CPT or OPT authorization.