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Several of the academic majors at Roger Williams University require an internship or co-op experience in order to graduate:

Gabelli School of Business
Accounting, Computer Information Systems and Management.

Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences
Graphic Design Communication

School of Justice Studies
See your academic advisor for a case by case basis.

Although these are the programs that require internships, many other majors encourage you to partake in an internship experience either in the United States or another country. Students in all other majors except for Architecture should contact the Career Center about taking an internship for an elective credit. Internships can occur during the winter term, summer or academic year in conjunction with your studies.

In order to participate in any internship (required or not, paid or unpaid) within the United States, you must first apply for Curricular Practical Training.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is special work permission given for work that is “an integral part of an established curriculum.” Curricular Practical Training can only be used before the completion of your studies. Students must be in legal F-1 status for at least nine months to be eligible. You may work part-time (20 hours or less per week) while school is in session and full-time (40 hours per week) during school vacations.

In order to qualify for CPT, the internship or practicum must be either:

a) a required component of the curriculum
b) taken for academic credit (i.e. the internship must be assigned a course number and you must receive credit for the work completed)

If your proposed internship does not meet either of these qualifications, you are not eligible for CPT. However, there is a different type of work permission you may apply for called Optional Practical Training. Stop by the Intercultural Center for information.

How to apply for CPT

At least three weeks before the beginning date of employment, make an appointment with your international student advisor (x3121) and bring the following:

  • A copy of your completed Cooperative Education Contract from the Career Center (with all signatures) or a letter signed by an academic advisor on departmental letterhead specifying: the student is enrolled as a degree-seeking student in the specific academic discipline; how many units of credit, under what course number, and when the credit will be given; or, if credit will not be given, that the internship is a required part of the student’s curriculum.
  • A job offer letter on company letter head from your employer stating: the name and location of the company or organization; a brief description of the proposed employment; the number of hours to be worked each week; and the estimated start and end date of employment.
  • Your I-20, I-94 and passport.

The Intercultural Center will authorize you for CPT and issue you a new I-20. When you begin work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled Employment Eligibility Verification (USCIS form I-9), which the employer will keep. You will be required to show the CPT authorization on page two of your I-20. You will also need a Social Security Number. For information on how to obtain a Social Security Number, see Obtaining a Social Security Number.

You must be careful not to continue employment beyond the date authorized on your I-20, unless you apply for and are granted an extension of your work permission. Any work done outside the authorized dates on the I-20 is illegal. There is no limit to the amount of part-time or full-time CPT a student may use, however, students that use 12 months or more of full-time CPT are ineligible to apply for Optional Practical Training.

For information on working in your field after graduation stop by the Intercultural Center to ask about Optional Practical Training.