CPT and OPT Process

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary employment authorization for F-1 international students who are currently pursuing a program of study at SJSU and want to gain practical training in their major field of study. CPT may be authorized for paid or unpaid employment.

For CPT authorization and application periods, eligibility, and required documents (including job offer letter specifications), please check the ISSS CPT webpage and their CPT tutorial [pdf].

At CoE, the application process includes meeting any additional departmental requirements for eligibility, being aware of CPT departmental policy, and obtaining approval by your major or program department.

Note: The application process has changed as of July 2021.

Overview of the CPT application process at CoE:

After reviewing your department's website for further details, please reach out to the undergraduate or graduate departmental contacts for CPT if you have any questions.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Post-Completion OPT is a temporary employment authorization issued by USCIS that may be used (1) after the completion of a degree program, or (2) after completion of all course requirements other than a thesis, project or comprehensive final exam. The work students pursue while on Post-Completion OPT must be directly related to their major field of study.

Post-Completion OPT is generally issued for a duration of 12 months, but may be for less time if the student has previously applied and been granted Pre-Completion OPT.

More information on the process for post-OPT is available on the ISSS website, along with a detailed tutorial [pdf].

Pre-Completion OPT is another type of work authorization that occurs prior to students' degree completion and before the program end date stated on the I-20. Learn more about the eligibility and process for pre-OPT on the ISSS website.

The academic advisor will complete part of your OPT application form before you submit that to ISSS. Each department may have a different process for submission and required documents to attach. Please check their website and, if you still have questions, reach out to the departmental contact for OPT.

If you are unsure which OPT option to pursue, make an appointment with an ISSS advisor to discuss your options given your case.


ESSC CPT Workshops

ISSS Forms

ISSS Workshops

If you have questions, contact Engineering Graduate Advising.