Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a form of work authorization that allows F-1 students to engage in an off-campus academic internship or employment (paid or unpaid). Typically this is most commonly done during the summer after 1L and 2L years in law school. CPT authorization is required for paid and unpaid employment/internships.
To be eligible for CPT you must satisfy the following requirements:
F-1 students no longer need to schedule an appointment to submit a CPT request to the Dashew Center. Instead, you can submit your CPT request documents (e.g. completed CPT Request Form, copy of your offer letter, enrollment confirmation letter and any supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dashew's current processing time is 15 business days. Due to the high volume of requests, Dashew cannot accommodate rush requests at this time.
You will need to e-mail the following documents to Dashew:
1. A completed CPT Request Form. You can find the Dashew Center's CPT Request Form here.
2. A copy of an employment offer letter on your employer's letterhead, including your start date, end date, number of hours you will be working per week, and a description of the job duties demonstrating a direct connection between your job duties and your study of the law. The description of duties must be written by the employer. The description of duties can either be included in the employment offer letter or be included in a separate letter. For the description of job duties, Dashew will accept letters on official letterhead or emails that come from the employer's email address.
3. An email from the Dean of Student Affairs, Dean Marti, showing that he approved your Law 340 petition.
Timeline of Dashew's process:
It takes about fifteen business days for Dashew to process your documents, assuming that you have submitted all of your required completed documents. Submit your CPT request documents well before your employment start date to give yourself enough time to complete the work authorization process BEFORE you start employment and receive your authorization in time.
For Dashew's CPT Guidelines for Graduate Students and CPT Request Form click here.
In order for a student to obtain eligibility for CPT they must be enrolled in a course and the work they are doing for a law firm, agency or otherwise must be a part of that course, or at least “inform” the work within your course. At UCLA Law, generally we have students enroll in a Law 340 – Independent Study Paper in the fall semester (after the summer in which they are working). In addition to enrolling in a Law 340 at UCLA Law, students must also complete the Dashew Center's CPT requirements.
You will need to think about what it is you want to research and write about, and find a professor who is willing to oversee the Law 340 independent study. You should plan to write a paper for one or two units of credit and your work experience during the internship should inform the paper topic that you choose. For example, if you are working primarily in the area of business law, your paper should relate to a specific business law topic that is approved by you and your professor. While it is up to you and your professor to work out how many units of work you will enroll in, generally a one-unit Law 340 will result in a 10-15 page paper, while a 2-unit Law 340 (which could satisfy your SAW requirement) will result in 20-25 pages. Again, any page requirement is up to your professor.
The paper must be completed by the end of the fall term and you will receive a grade for it. You should ideally ask a professor who you know and who is knowledgeable about your proposed topic. When you ask a professor to supervise you on an independent study, be mindful that they do not have to say yes to the request and you are asking them to take extra time to supervise you on a paper.
Once you find a professor who will supervise your paper, submit an independent study petition on MyLaw here: https://my.law.ucla.edu/Forms/studentservices/independentproject/default.aspx. You will have to attach an email from your professor that shows that they have agreed to supervise you on the independent study. This should include approval of the number of units you are seeking. Email the Dean of Student Affairs, Dean Marti at email@example.com and let him know that you have submitted your independent study petition for CPT authorization. The Dean will review your independent study petition and if he approves it, he’ll let the Dashew Center know that it’s approved. You must also make sure that you complete the Dashew Center's requirements for CPT.
Timeline: The spring semester before the summer that you plan to work, you should start talking to a professor about the work you'd like to do for your independent study in the fall. You should try to have a professor in place by April 1st. April 1st is the recommended deadline to submit your independent study petition on MyLaw for the Dean of Student Affairs to review. If you need an extension on this deadline, please email the Director of Student Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for writing a Law 340 paper: Please review this FAQ about the requirements for a Law 340 independent study paper. The same guidelines apply for Law 340 papers written for CPT. The paper must be an academic paper, with a topic, your argument, citations, research you incorporate, etc. (i.e. it is not a personal reflection paper or cannot be comprised of work that you did for your employer during the summer). If you have questions about how to write your Law 340 please contact Carmina Ocampo (email@example.com).
Before you start the process for applying for any full-time externships for academic credit during the school year, please make sure you contact the Director of Student Life (firstname.lastname@example.org) first.
Yes. CPT authorization is required for all off-campus paid and unpaid summer externships.
F-1 students DO NOT need to complete CPT in order to work as Research Assistants in the library over the summer. F-1 students do not need CPT authorization or any additional authorizations from the Dashew Center to engage in on-campus employment.