CPT Instructions

*This information only applies to CS graduate students. CE students should contact the Electrical Engineering Department for CPT procedures. Additionally, if you are in GET and have not yet done your first internship through them, please refer to the GET team for guidance. Undergraduate students should contact their CSA Advising Dean.*

All international students on an F-1 visa who plan to work an internship in the US will be required to apply for CPT and register for the 1-credit Fieldwork (COMS E6910). If you need to apply for CPT, please read this email very carefully as it contains important information about the application process and your employment eligibility. 

—————–

  1. What is Fieldwork/CPT?
  2. Who is eligible for Fieldwork/CPT?
  3. What are the eligible dates for Fieldwork/CPT?
  4. How to apply for Fieldwork/CPT
  5. After Your Internship 
  6. Commonly Asked Questions
  7. Helpful Links

 

1. What is Fieldwork/CPT?

Fieldwork/CPT allows students to have off-campus internships that are an integral part of their program’s established curriculum. It is an opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge in a real world setting. Because CPT is part of the curriculum, students who apply for CPT are required to register for Fieldwork (COMS E6910). You can register for only 1 point of Fieldwork per semester. Each advisor has his/her own section of COMS E6910 — students should sign up for their track advisor’s section of COMS E6910 with permission from the advisor and the Student Services team.

 

2. Who is eligible for Fieldwork/CPT?

Graduate students who have completed two full academic terms are eligible to apply for CPT. International students who plan to work off-campus are required to apply for CPT. Domestic students have the option to do so if they want to earn academic credit for their internship, but they are not required to do so.


3. What are the eligible dates for Fieldwork/CPT?

Generally speaking your internship should fall within the dates of the semester you are intending on registering for Fieldwork/applying for CPT. Your internship may not exceed the dates listed below for the semester.

Non-graduating student dates: 

Spring 2022: Jan. 1, 2022 – May. 13, 2022

Summer 2022: May 16, 2022 – Sept. 2, 2022

Fall 2022: September 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022

Graduating Student dates: 

Spring 2022: Jan. 1, 2022 – official last day of the semester

Summer 2022: May 16, 2022 – August 31, 2022

Fall 2022: September 1, 2022 – December 23, 2022 (official last day of the semester)

*Applications that fall outside of the specified dates will not be approved.

**Applications should be sent AT LEAST two weeks prior to your listed start date to account for processing.**

 

4. How to apply for Fieldwork/CPT

There are 3 components to the CPT application:

  1.     Fieldwork Instructions for Employers Form. Your employer must sign this form before you can continue with your CPT application. By signing this form, your employer is acknowledging that you will be permitted to write and submit a report about the work you performed during your internship for a grade. IMPORTANT: If your employer refuses to sign this form, you will not be eligible to work for that employer using CPT. You will need to apply for OPT.
  2.     CPT Application Form. The student should fill out and sign the top half of this form. The Student Services team can fill out and sign the bottom half of this form as long as your Track Advisor has approved your request via email. You can attach their approval to your CPT submission for faster processing. 
  3.     Job Offer Letter

The letter must:

  1.   be on official company letterhead
  2.   have a specific start date and a specific end date
  3.   include the location where your work will be performed
  4.   include the number of hours per week you will work
  5.   include a description of your position duties
  6.   be signed and dated by your employer


A) Once you have all three documents compiled, please send them to your faculty track advisor for approval. Your track advisor will need to sign the CPT Application Form to indicate their approval. If the faculty member does not sign, they should send a confirmation email approving your application.
B) Once you have faculty approval, Masters Students, please submit the complete application to CS@CU Student Services. Doctoral students, please submit to Cindy Meekins. Once we verify that the application is complete and ready to be sent to ISSO, we will provide you with the call number for your section of COMS E6910. When registering for Fieldwork, you must select the letter grade option. Fieldwork cannot be graded Pass/Fail. 
C) International students will need to submit their complete CPT application online to ISSO after registering for Fieldwork. CPT processing at ISSO typically takes 1-2 weeks. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not begin working until ISSO has notified you that your CPT application has been approved.

 

5. After Your Internship

All students who register for Fieldwork are required to submit, via email, a 6-page report (five pages of content + employer signed cover page) about their internship to their Track Advisor once the internship is over. Your track advisor will base your Fieldwork grade on this report, and this report only, so please treat it like a regular course assignment. 

The Fieldwork report should be no more than five pages of content in length and discuss your role and experience in the internship as well as what you learned and how the internship is relevant to your track and program of study. The report must be reviewed by your employer, to verify no confidential information is included, and should be submitted with the signed cover sheet to your track advisor no later than two weeks after the end of your internship.

Please use this cover sheet.

 

6. Commonly Asked Questions

Q: How long will my CPT request take to process?

A: The CS department and the ISSO may take at minimum 2 weeks to review and process your request. During peak times, this can take longer. Per the ISSO website “You can’t start employment before the CPT start date printed on your I-20.”

 

 

Q: Can I count Fieldwork toward my program requirements?

A: Fieldwork is a 6000-level course so it could count as a general elective if combined with two other points of coursework. Students who take Fieldwork often end up with 31 points however others will use a combination of Fieldwork (COMS 6910) and Projects (COMS 6901) in order to use the fieldwork toward the 30 point MS program. 

4 common examples are listed below however there are many different combinations that can work:

EXAMPLE 1

FALL: 12 points of coursework

SPRING: 12 points of coursework

SUMMER: 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

FALL: 3 points of coursework + 2 points of Projects (COMS 6901)

 

EXAMPLE 2

FALL: 12 points of coursework + 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

SPRING: 12 points of coursework + 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

SUMMER: 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

FALL: 3 points of coursework

 

EXAMPLE 3

FALL: 12 points of coursework

SPRING: 12 points of coursework 

SUMMER: 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

FALL: 3 points of coursework + 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910) + 1 point of Projects (COMS 6901)

 

EXAMPLE 4

FALL: 12 points of coursework

SPRING: 12 points of coursework 

SUMMER: 1 point of Fieldwork (COMS 6910)

FALL: 3 points of coursework + 2 points of Projects (COMS 6901)

 

 

Q: Do I need to apply for a Social Security Number? If so, how do I do it?

A: Talk to ISSO. 


Q: Do I have to pay tuition for Fieldwork COMS E6910?

A: Yes.

Q: Can I extend my current CPT?
A: YES! See options below: 

  • Adding more time during the same academic semester – This requires an entirely NEW application (CPT form  with new end date + updated signed Offer letter with a new end date + updated signed Employer instructions with a new end date). Your faculty advisor does not have to sign anything or email anything to our team. 
  • Extending CPT to a NEW semester – This requires an entirely NEW application where the start and end date fall within the range of the new academic semester (CPT form updated start and end date  + updated Offer letter with a new start and end date + updated Employer instructions with a new start and end date). Your faculty advisor MUST email to confirm they approve you adding their Fieldwork course OR they must sign the form themselves. 

 

Q: My summer internship went really well and the company has asked that I return for the Fall. Can I do another CPT / Fieldwork and push my Fall courses to Spring which would extend my program to a 4th semester? 

A: No. CPT will not qualify you for a program extension. Should you wis to do a CPT / Fieldwork in your final semester, you must also enroll in the required courses to complete your program on time. See the ISSO Program Extension policy here: https://isso.columbia.edu/content/extending-your-current-program-f-and-j-students

7. Helpful Links

ISSO’s CPT website: https://isso.columbia.edu/content/f-1-cpt-curricular-practical-training

CS Department CPT FAQ: http://www.cs.columbia.edu/education/ms/cpt/