Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for International Students

As an international student, you can work in the U.S. if your work experience is part of curricular practical training (CPT).  Once you have a confirmed offer for an internship, whether off-campus or on-campus, you will need to do several things.

Undergraduates in the School of Engineering follow the directions below.

Graduate students in the School of Engineering, discuss with your dissertation adviser whether it is okay for you to take time away from your research to do an internship.  If your dissertation adviser approves, then contact the Director of Graduate Studies in your program for the steps to follow for CPT.

Undergraduate Internship Instructions

  • Step 1

    Obtain a confirmed offer for an internship. The dates of employment must be within the permissible window and must be included in the offer letter:

    • Summer 2024 internship dates span May 6 through August 9. 
    • The Fall 2024 dates for internships span August 21 through December 14.
    • Spring 2025 CPT dates run from January 6 through May 1.

    You may not accept internship offers outside these dates.

  • Step 2

    Complete this VUSE Internship Form.

    • If a summer internship, this form will enable you to get a subsidy for all but $200 of one credit hour of tuition for this internship. Type or use ink. The course number is ES 3884.
    • Tuition subsidies do not apply to internships during the academic year, though the form is still required.
  • Step 3

    Start to complete the CPT application form using the ISSS student portal.

    • Select the appropriate person as your CPT adviser according to your declared major that most closely aligns with your internship:

    Major

    CPT Adviser

    Biomedical Engineering

    Prof. Amanda Lowery (amanda.r.lowery@vanderbilt.edu)

    Chemical Engineering

    Prof. Ethan Lippmann

    (ethan.s.lippmann@vanderbilt.edu)

    Civil Engineering

    Prof. Lori Troxel

    (lori.a.troxel@vanderbilt.edu)

    Computer Science

    Your academic adviser

    Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Prof. Tim Holman

    (tim.holman@vanderbilt.edu)

    Engineering Science

    Prof. Yiorgos Kostoulas

    (yiorgos.kostoulas@vanderbilt.edu)

    Mechanical Engineering

    Prof. Ken Frampton

    (ken.frampton@vanderbilt.edu)

  • Step 4

    Email your CPT adviser the following three items:

    • Your offer letter containing employer name, location, and work start/stop dates
    • Your completed VUSE internship form
    • Your technical answers to the following two questions WRITTEN IN THE THIRD PERSON:
      1. Explain how the practical training is an integral part of the student's program of study. Here is an example answer for this question: “The student will be learning field practices involved in the life-cycle of construction project planning and implementation.  The internship will involve application of concepts learned in structural analysis, structural design, and construction project management classes that the student has taken.”
      2. Describe the specific goals and objectives that will be achieved through the practical training and how they are related to the student’s major program of study. Here is an example answer for this question:  “The student will (a) collaborate with other developers to make genomic data available via mCODE in Microsoft’s Azure platform; (b) process genomics data in the format of mCODE; and (c) explore how to store such data in the cloud using the Azure platform.  This training will require application of knowledge learned in computer science coursework and will exercise those abilities.”
  • Approved for CPT: Next Steps

    If approved for CPT, you will be enrolled in a section of ES 3884 for the relevant term. You will be responsible for completing course requirements to earn a passing grade.  Successful completion of ES 3884 is a requisite to repeat CPT in future terms.