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Policies and Procedures

Below is a list of all the topics on which you can find information on policies and procedures. The Policies and Procedures page is in the process of being updated. For questions about information not contained below, contact the Dean of Students Office at lawdos@umn.edu.

Curricular and Optional Practical Training (CPT/OPT)


Paid work for students here on F-1 visas is only permitted when tied to a curricular requirement (CPT), or occurring near to or directly after graduation and directly connected to the field of study (OPT). ISSS (International Student and Scholar Services) has confirmed that this tie to the curriculum, which is required for the CPT can be via an Independent Research project that contributes towards credit acquisition for degree requirements.

To set up a CPT project, students are responsible for two steps:

(a) securing employment with a legal employer; and

(b) setting up an Independent Research paper of at least 1 credit that is related to but DOES NOT DUPLICATE any work for which the student has been paid

There are two sets of related forms students are responsible for completing, securing signatures, and submitting where appropriate:

(a) CPT certification form, which provides basic information about the student and employment site and includes a sign-off for the academic advisor (Assistant Dean of Students) and faculty supervisor for their Independent Research project. CPT forms are routed to ISSS with a copy of the Independent research forms; and

(b) Independent Research form, completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office for registration.

In terms of timelines, CPT work is often done over the summer and the Independent Research project is often completed in the fall. While it may happen that some Independent Research is started in the summer, the projects are often completed in fall when faculty are more accessible. This provides the basis for registering students in Fall Independent Research even if they have Summer CPT.

Key considerations for students setting up CPT:

  • Students on F-1 visas CANNOT earn money from employment unless they have made appropriate CPT arrangements;
  • Paid work MUST be related in some way (even if generally) to a credited exercise for the degree program, most often an Independent Research project;
  • Assignments for a credited exercise CANNOT duplicate work that has been completed for an employer. For instance, if a student is assigned a memorandum on an Intellectual Property question at work, they cannot submit that memo for their Independent Research credit. However, their Independent Research topic can and should relate to the general field in which they are working, so they could validly complete Independent Research on an Intellectual Property topic that was not the same as the memo submitted for work.

For more information, contact the Assistant Dean of Students office at lawdos@umn.edu, or 612-625-2456. See also the ISSS F-1 Work Options web page at http://www.isss.umn.edu/fstudent/fwork.html.