F-1 Students & Internships

F-1 students are allowed to participate in internships to gain useful work experience to enhance their degree program.

Eligibility

For an F-1 student to be eligible to do an internship, you must be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is a type of work authorization granted by the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at IUPUI; there is no additional fee to apply for CPT. You must meet the following qualifications:

  • Qualification 1: Make Sure You Qualify

    To be eligible for CPT, you must be in F-1 status and have been a full-time student for at least one full academic year (one fall and one spring semester). You can begin CPT after you have met the one academic year requirement. Talk to an International Student Advisor if you have questions regarding this requirement.

  • Qualification 2: Enroll in a CPT Eligible Course

    You must register in an appropriate course during the semester in which your internship will take place as part of the CPT process. This course must count towards degree requirements for your major field of study and work authorization must be necessary to complete course objectives. You must be registered for an appropriate course before you can complete a CPT request.

    CPT eligible course options will be in one of three categories:

    • An optional or required internship or practicum course in your academic program. Registration in an internship or practicum course is required, and that course must count towards your degree requirements.
    • A regular course or independent study course in your academic program that would require work authorization to complete course objectives. Registration in the course is required, and that course must count towards your degree requirements.

    Graduate students only: The work benefits your thesis/dissertation/final project in a material and substantial way. Registration for thesis/dissertation/final project credit(s) is required.

  • Qualification 3: Have an Offer of Employment

    You must submit an offer letter on company letterhead from your prospective employer. The letter must include:

    • The specific start date and specific end date for employment
    • The number of hours you will work per week. It is not sufficient for the letter to state “part time” or “full time.”
    • The physical location (street address, city, state, and ZIP code) where the job will be conducted. P.O. boxes are not accepted for this requirement. If you will be working remotely, you still need to provide an address for your employer
    • A detailed description of the job duties of the offered employment

Applying for Internship + CPT Work Authorization

There are several steps you need to take before you can begin your internship. You should begin this process a minimum of two weeks before your internship begins. We cannot guarantee you will be able to begin on your desired start date if you submit your application late.

  • Step 1: Receive Offer of Employment

    Make sure your offer letter includes the following:

    • The specific start date and specific end date for employment
    • The number of hours you will work per week. It is not sufficient for the letter to state “part time” or “full time.”
    • The physical location (street address, city, state, and ZIP code) where the job will be conducted. P.O. boxes are not accepted for this requirement. If you will be working remotely, you still need to provide an address for your employer
    • A detailed description of the job duties of the offered employment
  • Step 2: Determine Your Internship Course to Enroll in

    Make sure to talk to your Academic Advisor or Program Director about what course you should use for CPT. Some common course numbers include INFO-I 391, INFO-I 584, INFO-I 595, etc. Because most of these courses are variable credits, make sure you enroll in the correct number of credits.

    INFO-I 595 Students: You cannot enroll in this course until you have reported your internship to the SOIC Career team.

    INFO-B 584 Students: Please reach out to Dr. Gary Schwebach at gschweba@iu.edu before completing this application above. Many internships are used for INFO-B 584 practicum which is not managed by Career Services.

    Health Info Mgmt Majors: HIM-M 443 and HIM-M 444 are not managed by Career Services. If you are looking to register for these courses do not fill out this application and instead email Nicole Van Andel for your next steps at nvanande@iupui.edu.

  • Step 3: Register Your Internship

    You need to register your internship if you are enrolling in any of the following courses:

    • INFO-I 391
    • INFO-I 491
    • INFO-I 595
    • NEWM-N 491
    • NEWM-N 495
    • HIM-M 485

    When you register your internship, you will need to be able to provide the following details:

    • Supervisor name and contact information
    • Job description
    • How the internship/experience aligns with your SOIC degree

    Register Internship

  • Step 4: Enroll in a CPT Eligible Course

    Once you have received permission to enroll in your CPT Eligible course, make sure to enroll in your course as soon as possible. Enrolling as early as possible is always the best option!

    In the internship course, you are expected to complete weekly journals along with additional assignments. Failure to submit work on time will result in being withdrawn from the course which may result in you losing your F-1 status and having to exit the United States.

  • Step 5: Apply for Curricular Practical Training

    You can apply for CPT with the Office of International Affairs (OIA) in Atlas. For the 2nd Approver, please list the following:

    OIA can take up to 10 business days to process your request so applying as soon as possible is always the best option. If you have problems with the Atlas form, contact iadvisor@iupui.edu for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How early can I start my internship?  When does the end date need to be?

    The earliest your internship can start is the day after the previous term/semester ends and it can go until the last day of final exams in the semester your CPT course is.  For students on an F-1 visa, there are no exceptions to extend the course with an incomplete.  If your internship is extended or will last over one semester, you must enroll in a new course for the following semester to continue your internship.

  • My internship was extended! What do I do?

    Congratulations! If your internship extends past the last day of final exams in a semester, you will need to enroll in another CPT eligible course in the next available semester/term and reapply with Career Services and the OIA.  You must have remaining elective credit to enroll.  Plan accordingly with your academic advisor.

  • Can I do an internship for a non-credit course/no credit?

    No. As an F-1 student, you are only qualified to do CPT if you have course credits that count towards your degree program. If you have no more eligible credits, you are not eligible for CPT. Contact OIA to find out what other work authorization options there are for you.

  • If I have an unpaid internship, do I still need CPT?

    The Office of International Affairs (OIA) highly recommends that you apply for CPT, even for an unpaid work experience. You must be careful not to “volunteer” without pay in positions that U.S. citizens would be paid for. This rule is designed to protect you, the employer, and other workers. The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on the Fair Labor Standards Act on its website.

    Visit the Department of Labor