Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?
Curricular Practical Training allows students to have internships that are integral part of the established curriculum of the school.

What is the Curricular Practical Training course?
The CPT course, COMS W4910, is open to MS students in the Computer Science Department. COMS W4910 gives students academic credits for the work experience relevant to their studies. You can register up to 3 times for total of 3 points.

COMS W4910 has multiple sections. For which section should I register?
You need to register for your advisor's section upon his/her approval.

Can I take this course for P/F?
No, you must take this course for a letter grade.

When is the CPT course offered?
It is offered every semester including summer.

Who is eligible to take this course?
All MS students are eligible to register for COMS W4910. If you are a US citizen or a permanent resident, you are eligible to register for it as soon as you are in the MS program. If you are a J-1 visa holder, you can register after a semester of holding the J-1 status. If you are on F-1 visa, you must be in valid student status for one academic year (9 months) before you can register for COMS W4910.

I read that the CPT course will satisfy my program requirement. How does that work?
Since the CPT course is a 4000-level course, it will count as your general elective or a waiver replacement. Since this is a one-credit course, though, most students take it as an extra course instead of trying to fit it into the program plan.

How do I register for this course?
You must have an internship appointment in order to start the registration process. Once you secured an internship, submit a CPT application form, along with the official employment offer letter and a short proposal, to your faculty advisor. The proposal should explain the relevance of your work to your study. Upon approval, you can register for the course on SSOL.

I am an international student, so can I get a work authorization? How long does it take for it to be issued?
Yes, you can get a CPT work authorization. It takes about a week.

I am an international student. What is the difference between CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and Pre-Completion OPT (Optional Practical Training)?
Please refer to CPT and Pre-Completion OPT.

How many hours can I work?
If you are an international student, the CPT work authorization requires you to work at least 100 hours (excluding exam week). you cannot, however, work more than 20 hours a week during the academic year, so please plan accordingly. During the summer, the 100-hour requirement still applies, but you can work more than 20 hours a week.

What is the grade based on?
You are required to write and submit a five-page report at the end of the term on which the grade will be based. The report should be approved by your internship supervisor before you submit it to your advisor. This is necessary to confirm the content of your work and to make sure that the report does not include any information the company does not wish you to disclose. The report is due two weeks after the end of your internship. Please use this coversheet for you report.

Please note that ISSO requires students to submit their CPT reports to the CS Student Services before they process the next CPT application. For example, Summer CPT report receipt confirmation is necessary for ISSO to issue the Fall CPT work authorization. If you have any questions about this, please email the CS Student Services.

What happens if the company does not allow me to release some information about the project on which I worked?
You can work with your supervisor to write a report that is acceptable to the company.

How closely aligned with my track does the internship need to be?
The internship must be related to computing and must have educational value as judged by your advisor.

I was offered a position within Columbia. Do I need to register for the CPT course and get a CPT work authorization to work?
A position at Columbia is an on-campus position, so you do not need to apply for work authorization.

I already have a CPT work authorization, but I received another internship offer which I would like to accept. Is it ok to reapply for CPT to work for the new company?
Yes. If the new position is also appropriate, you can reapply for a CPT work authorization. Please note that you must start the application process from the beginning.

I am an international student and was unexpectedly let go. What can I do?
CPT duration can be shortened, but you cannot drop the course as that means that you worked illegally in the US. You must contact your advisor/adminsitrator/ISSO to resolve this issue as this would affect your legal working status.