USC Viterbi - School of Engineering

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Graduate Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) offers an opportunity for students to gain valuable real world experience as a part of their education. However, it must be done in a manner that maintains academic integrity. It must not become a means to avoid immigration laws, and it should not prevent the student from making reasonable progress towards the degree. Please read and closely follow the policies and procedures outlining the responsibilities for both students and supervising faculty developed by USC Viterbi School of Engineering before proceeding further. The Office of International Services (OIS) provides additional information on their website that all graduate students should also be aware of. International students should review the OIS CPT Information Sheet prior to filing for CPT.

Viterbi CPT Policies 

  • Students applying for a Fall or Spring CPT must have a GPA of 3.00 or above.
  • Students applying for a Summer CPT must have a GPA of 2.75 or above.
  • Remote CPTs are not allowed. The student must work at a company site.
  • During Fall and Spring CPTs must be in the Los Angeles area unless you have 4 units or less.
  • CPTs must be at least 12 weeks during Fall and Spring, 10 weeks during Summer.
  • CPTs must be a minimum of 10 hours per week.
  • CPT applications must be processed in person. Do not fax, email, or send a friend!
  • Receiving a “NC” for ENGR 596 will result in ineligibility for future CPTs.
  • CPT may not be used for a reason for delaying graduation.

Master’s Students:

  • Master's students who started at Viterbi in Spring 2014 are required to attend the Viterbi CPT workshop to be eligible for CPT while at USC.
  • Master's students who started at Viterbi in Fall 2014 or later are requred to attend the USC Viterbi: A Community of Honor workshop to be eligible for CPT while at USC.
  • Students who have already completed all course/unit requirements for their degree are not eligible for CPT.

Ph.D. Students:

  • CPT will not be allowed during the Ph.D. student's first semester of enrollment in a degree program.
  • A Ph.D. student cannot receive CPT authorization and contemporaneously hold a 50% assistantship at USC. A student may hold a 25% assistantship at USC and be approved for CPT if the employment is in the Los Angeles area and if the offer letter states the outside employment will be for no more than 10 hours per week. An exception may be made only if the student is eligible for full-time CPT.

Important Dates and Deadlines

CPTs cannot start before or end after the posted dates below. For example, your Summer CPT start date cannot begin before May 18th and the end date cannot be after August 11th if you are graduating or August 23rd if Summer is not your final semester.


FALL 2015


GAPP CPT application processing begins

March 9

March 30

October 27

Deadline to submit application

May 22

Sept. 4

Jan. 23

(FINAL deadline extended to Feb. 19)

If this is your final semester...
May 16 - Aug. 11
Aug. 24 - Dec. 16
Jan. 12 - May 15
If this is NOT your final semester...
May 16 - Aug. 23
Aug. 24 - Jan. 10
Jan. 12- May 15
Deadline to submit final report
Aug. 7 Dec. 4 May 1


CPT Approval Process


Professor Approval

Request ENGR-596 supervision from a professor in your major department. Learn More

GAPP Approval

GAPP Advisors will review your CPT paperwork, confirm professor approval, sign your forms, and issue d-clearance.

OIS Approval

International students only: Submit all CPT paperwork to OIS for final approval and I-20 processing. Learn More


Offer Letter Requirements

The Offer Letter required for CPT approval must feature the company's letterhead. The information given below must be included in the body of the letter. If any information is missing, the offer letter will be rejected by GAPP. Faxed offer letters or addendum to offer letters are not acceptable.

  • Name and address of employee (student)
  • Location where student will work (full company address in the body of letter)
  • Detailed description of job responsibilities for the internship
  • Hours per week to be worked
  • Beginning and ending dates of the internship (time frame must adhere to the specific dates listed in the chart above)

Step-by-Step Instructions to Complete the CPT Application

  1. Obtain an offer letter from the company where you will be doing your internship. The offer letter MUST contain all criteria listed in the Offer Letter Requirements section below. 
  2. Obtain the Application for Curricular Practical Training from OIS. (Not required for Domestic students.)
  3. Locate a full-time faculty member in your major department who is willing to supervise you for ENGR 596. It is the student's responsibility to select a professor who is available to supervise the CPT. The student must also show the offer letter and go over the ENGR 596 Syllabus with the professor so both parties are aware of all course requirements.
  4. After the professor reviews your offer letter and agrees to supervise you, complete the CPT ENGR 596 Approval Application online at MyViterbi. Log in then select "Directred Research CPT".
  5. Once you receive e-mail confirmation that your request for ENGR 596 supervision has been approved, bring the following materials to the Office of Graduate and Professional Programs (GAPP) in OHE-106:
  6. A GAPP advisor will review your documents and issue d-clearance.
  7. Register for ENGR 596.
  8. Submit Application for CPT form to OIS. OIS processing time for CPT is 4 business days.


ENGR 596 (Internship In Engineering, 1 unit)

The United States Government requires students on CPT to be registered in a regular course in the curriculum. The course approved for graduate engineering students for CPT is ENGR 596. The student must discuss the specifics of the syllabus with the supervising professor. The student must regularly report to the supervising professor throughout the semester and submit a final report. Both student and professor must adhere to the ENGR 596 syllabus. It is the student's responsibility to select a professor who will be available to supervise the CPT. REGISTRATION IN ENGR 596 IS MANDATORY FOR CPT.


Please print the ENGR 596 Syllabus so you can review its contents and share it with your supervising faculty. The syllabus outlines the course expectations, requirements and grading policy. 


CPT Resources & Forms: