USA Internship opportunities for international students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and  Optional Practical Training (OPT)

We provide an extensive support system for our international student including special courses, extracurricular activities and CPT/OPT internships. On this page, we answer your questions about CPT and OPT internships that are available to international students with F-1 Visa (Academic Student) status.

Types of Internships for students with F-1 visa status

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students. If you have an internship offer or you are thinking about completing an internship, learn more about CPT from the International Students and Scholars Center.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows international students in F-1 status to gain off-campus work experience in their field of study before or after completion of studies. Learn more about OPT and OPT STEM Extension from the International Students and Scholars Center.

What is a Pre-OPT internship?

CPT and OPT internships are consecutive and have time limits. If the time limit for a CPT internship is reached by a student before they graduate, they may start a “Pre-OPT” internship before they graduate, which will become their OPT internship upon graduation. The time spent in Pre-OPT applies toward the time limit of the OPT internship.

Fulton Schools CPT and Pre-OPT policies

We offer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students

Undergraduate students are allowed at least 1 credit hour per internship experience in addition to or included as part of degree requirements (i.e., not counted as part of the usual 120 credit hours leading to an undergraduate degree).

Graduate students are allowed at least 1 credit hour per internship experience in addition to or included as part of degree requirements (i.e., not counted as part of the mandatory requirements).

Student eligibility requirements

Undergraduate students that meet the CPT eligibility requirements with a minimum 3.0 GPA (or otherwise in good academic standing) are eligible.

Graduate students that meet the CPT eligibility requirements with a minimum 3.0 GPA (or otherwise in good academic standing) are eligible. A lower GPA may be permitted during summer internships. No prerequisite courses are required. Graduate students must submit any required iPOS changes in advance of application.

Learn more about Pre-OPT eligibility.

During which terms are internships allowed?

With approval by the academic unit, full- or part-time internships are allowable in Fall, Spring and Summer. Academic justification is required for full-time internships during Fall and Spring semesters. For undergraduate students, part-time internships are recommended in Fall and Spring.

Course registration

Students will register for the term they have been offered the internship. Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) guidelines mandate 45 hours of work per 1 credit of internship.

Application processing time

Students can expect a processing time of no more than 10 to 14 business days between the submission of a complete and accurate CPT/Pre-OPT application and notification of approval of the internship (this excludes time for ISSC CPT work authorization).

School-specific internship information

Each School within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering has specific course registration requirements and processes. Learn your program’s specific processes by visiting your School’s internship guidelines page.

School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE)

Undergraduate | Graduate

School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering (CIDSE)

Undergraduate | Graduate

School of Electrical, Computing, and Energy Engineering (ECEE)

Undergraduate | Graduate

School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy (SEMTE)

Undergraduate | Graduate

School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment (SSEBE)

Undergraduate | Graduate

The Polytechnic School (TPS)

Undergraduate | Graduate

Have Questions?

For questions regarding CPT or pre-OPT, please contact the International Students & Scholars Center.

You can also contact Ban Faris, Senior International Student Advisor, in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, if you have additional questions or concerns.

Extra-curricular experiences in the Fulton Schools

Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI)

The Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative provides hands-on lab experience, independent and thesis-based research, and travel to national conferences. For undergraduates only.

Master’s Opportunity for Research in Engineering (MORE)

MORE is designed to enrich a graduate student’s graduate curriculum with hands-on lab experience and independent and thesis-based research. For graduate students only.

Devil's Invent

Devils Invent is a series of engineering and design challenges. Students are encouraged to design, build, and implement innovative solutions to challenging problems submitted by community, industry and University partners.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E+I)

E+I@Fulton collaborates with entrepreneurial groups at ASU and other internal and external innovation leaders and organizations. Our goal is to enhance the synergy between technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship for all Sun Devils.

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS)

EPICS is a national award-winning social entrepreneurship program. Teams design, build and deploy systems to solve engineering-based problems for charities, schools and other not-for-profit organizations. EPICS students aren’t waiting to graduate to make a difference—they are tackling real-world problems today.

Student Organizations and Competitions

There are dozens of Fulton student organizations (“orgs”), ranging from honors and professional associations to groups creating underwater robots, concrete canoes, or launching rockets. Participating in one or multiple student orgs provides opportunities to do hands-on engineering,  learn about careers and network with industry professionals. Get involved today!

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and scholarship

This online certification course examines the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) methodology. This customer-focused, fact and data-driven methodology guides continuous improvement and operations excellence.

We offer scholarships for this summer course to engineering graduate students at the discounted price of $99 (regular price is $1,295). More scholarship details.

Hear what our students have to say

Aravind Rengarajan

Aravind Rengarajan

MS Mechanical Engineering, Home country: India

Who did you intern with, how did you find the internship, and what was the impact of that experience, and did that experience lead to getting a job offer?

I did my internship with Rheem Manufacturing Company. I found this internship on LinkedIn. The intern helped me in understanding the actual working of a system in the real-world scenario and apply the theoretical knowledge which we learnt in school. I worked as a Research Engineering Intern in the new product development team of the commercial package air conditioning cadre. I worked on simulations and testing of new package design. My project was based on developing a unit design to match the current ASHRAE standards. On successful completion of my task, I was offered a full-time position in their R&D team.

Ashwath Vaidhyanathan

Ashwath Vaidhyanathan

MS Mechanical Engineering, Home country: India

Who did you intern with, how did you find the internship, and what was the impact of that experience, and did that experience lead to getting a job offer?

I interned with Formfactor Inc as a Process Engineering Intern. I applied to a lot of companies mostly through Linkedin, Glassdoor and Indeed. I remember applying to about 350 companies and got only this one offer. I was working on reducing the scrap generated during semiconductor fabrication and that directly impacted the on-time deliveries and cost savings of the company. My project was a success and I won the award for the most inspirational poster presentation during the conclusion of my internship. I received a full-time offer as a Process Engineer and will be joining the organization in San Jose in December 2019.

Advice to students?

My advice for students particularly international students is to apply for as many companies as possible. Sometimes it can take only a few applications or it can also take many as in my case. Another advice I would like to give is to join a professor’s research group and gain experience in their field of interest. This experience can also be used in resume building and can be used to find internships and jobs.