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Office of International Studies and Programs


Contact Us

Office of International Studies and Programs
Central Washington University
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408
Phone: (509) 963-3612
Fax: (509) 963-1558

Off-Campus Employment

Obtaining permission for an Internship/Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

International students are eligible for Curricular Practical Training as  a benefit of their F-1 status. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is on or off campus employment, usually in the form of an internship, cooperative education, practicum or other work/study experience. CPT can be a paid or non-paid experience. Regulations allow for CPT to be for credit or not for credit, but students must enroll in at least one CPT credit for each new employer. Student can work on CPT full-time during breaks and part-time when school is in session or during breaks. It must be an integral part to the student’s degree program, and with an employer that has a cooperative agreement with the school. Departments or majors with no internship component in the approved curriculum for the major do not need to make special exceptions or provisions for international students.

International students can request CPT as follows:

  1. A student interested in CPT should work with their major advisor to see if an internship for credit is an available option for the major. (BUS 490 for example is the internship course for College of Business students.) The student is responsible for finding their own internship opportunity and must ensure with the major or faculty advisor that it is an integral part of their program. The student must also work with Career Services on the required cooperative education Learning Agreement paperwork.
  2. The student should be in their declared major at least one quarter and meet the minimum GPA requirements set by CWU the academic department. To be eligible for immigration purposes, undergraduate students will need to have been in F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year (time at a previous institution on the same SEVIS ID number will be counted). Twelve or more months of full-time CPT will make students ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of their program.
  3. CPT approval is for one quarter at a time and must be submitted quarterly. The student must submit a completed Learning Agreement to Career Services who will enroll them in the credit(s). Permission for additional employment time with the same employer can be granted as long as an updated Learning Agreement is submitted to the International Student Advisor prior to the start date. To avoid gaps in employment dates, students should submit extension requests one week prior to the prior employment end date.
  4. Students must have authorization on their I-20 (immigration document) before they can begin working. Failure to have authorization will result in termination of the I-20 for unauthorized employment and there is no reinstatement option for this termination reason.

All Graduate students:

International graduate students intending to work more than 20 hours per week must still be making progress towards completion of the degree.

Computational Science Graduate Students:

For graduate students in Computational Science, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) will be approved only for Summer Quarter.

Applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT):

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of a F1 status as part of the educational experience in the U.S. It allows international students work authorization in their major field of study for up to 12 months. Students in STEM degrees are eligible for a 24-month extension. International students can apply for post-completion OPT 90 days before the last day of their program, and up to 60 days after the last day (the grace period).

You may request an OPT application packet from your International Student Advisor.

Graduate Students Applying for OPT:

International graduate students looking to participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT), will need to receive their department’s approval as part of the OPT application. Students should be in their last quarter, have submitted their request for a folder check, and be on track for completion of their thesis. For Graduate submission deadlines, please see the School of Graduate Studies and Research Graduation Procedures and Deadlines page.

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