International Student: Internships - Curricular Practical Training

"At Pomona College, we consider experiential learning opportunities to be a valuable part of a liberal arts curriculum and students’ educational experiences. The application of practical skills is an integral part of this process. Internships and other practical training opportunities such as the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are among the ways in which students apply their liberal arts education to the workplace: to develop skills and competencies supportive of their major area(s) of study; to develop better understandings of specific career fields and work environments related to their fields of study; and to make meaningful contributions within approved organizations and workplaces."Adapted from the Pomona College catalog.


To participate in an off-campus internship, whether paid or unpaid, you have to be eligible and you have to get permission from the ISA. F-1 students cannot engage in off-campus internships or employments without specific authorization.  Failure to get authorization can result with you being in violation of your F-1 status. Curricular Practical Training, the regulatory term for this type of activity, includes internships under the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP), Remote Alternative Independent Summer Experience Program (RAISE), the Silicon Valley and Washington Programs offered through CMC, and regular internships where you are paid by an individual employer.

The regulations state that an F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Regulatory guidance goes on to state that the opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must receive credit for the training. At Pomona College, students receive a transcript notation stating that the internship is considered to be equivalent to one-half course credit though not an actual graduation credit.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether you need CPT authorization for a professional or academic related activity off campus during school or when you are on a break between terms or summer vacation, ASK by emailing the ISA, Kathy Quispe . If you make a mistake and fail to get authorization before engaging in the activity, there is no way that the ISA can provide authorization retroactively. Such mistakes can severely impact your status and possible future opportunities to work and live in the U.S. and can even lead to your SEVIS record being terminated.

Now, let’s talk first about eligibility, then conditions and finally procedures.


  • You must have been enrolled full-time in an active F-1 status for at least 2 semesters preceding the term for which CPT is requested. Therefore freshman who entered the U.S. are typically first eligible for an internship during the summer following their first year of attendance at Pomona College. 
  • You must have declared a major; the major must be the one shown on your I-20; and the proposed work must relate to that major.
  • CPT cannot be authorized after graduation.