Skip to content



Please visit the Duke Visa Services website for official instructions regarding requirements for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).  You may also contact Duke Visa Services at 919-681-8472. Questions about CPT, OPT, visas, and your eligibility/authorization to work in the United States should be directed to the Duke Visa Services Office.

Below is some additional information that may be helpful as you prepare to apply for CPT or pre- or post-completion OPT.  This information is provided as general guidelines and does not imply that a visa, work authorization, or successful graduation are guaranteed under any circumstances.

Differences Between CPT and OPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with a school.  Students must apply for CPT and be authorized by the Designated School Official (DSO = Duke Visa Services’ International Student/Scholar Advisor) prior to participating in a CPT program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a work authorization benefit for which eligible F-1 students may apply.  It may be used prior to or after completion of studies.  OPT taken prior to completion of studies is commonly referred to as “pre-completion OPT.”  Taken after completion of studies is called “post-completion OPT.”

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Requirements for CPT

  1. Students studying on an F-1 visa.
  2. Students have completed at least one academic year of study with the program.
  3. Students are interning in the US.
  4. Student’s internship must be related to their degree.
  5. Students must have the letter of employment in writing
    • Letter of employment must contain specific starting and ending dates (not a range), the physical worksite address, name of supervisor and his/her contact information, salary, and a brief description of the employment

CPT Application Process

Read the Duke Visa Services CPT website thoroughly. Duke Visa Services recommends submitting your completed application materials at least 2 – 4 weeks before you are scheduled to begin work. Applications will be processed within 10 business days after all materials are received.

First, enroll in the appropriate section of your program’s internship course during the term in which you will be working.

Next, complete the electronic CPT application. You will need to enter the name and email address of someone who can provide an academic department recommendation. Enter the name and email address of the Student Records Coordinator – Cherie Creten and The Student Records Coordinator will receive an email from Duke Visa Services requesting that they submit the academic department recommendation for the student.

Send the Student Records Coordinator a copy of your job offer letter. Before they can submit the academic department recommendation, the Student Records Coordinator must verify the following information:

  1. The student is enrolled in the related internship course during the term in which they will be working
  2. The job applies to the program of study and is clearly related in the description
  3. Start and end dates are in the future and appropriate
  4. The number of hours the student will work per week

Once the offer letter is reviewed and approved, the Student Records Coordinator will submit the academic department recommendation. Offer letters may be submitted to the Student Records Coordinator at

If you have questions regarding the CPT application process, you may email Krysta Byrd, a Duke Visa Services advisor that specializes in CPT,


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Duke Visa Services maintains up-to-date and accurate information regarding the work authorization of international students.

Fall 2022 MEM and MEng OPT Information Session

View the recording here


Spring 2022 MS OPT Information Session

View the recording here

OPT Spring 2022 Info Session Notes


OPT Application Process

Read the Duke Visa Services OPT webpage thoroughly.

To obtain a recommendation letter for your OPT application, first make sure that you have applied for graduation. Then contact the Student Records Coordinator at to request the letter. The Student Records Coordinator will then send you the recommendation letter to include in your application.


Click here to access the Terra Dotta (TDS) Portal

Duke Visa Services Advisors

MEM and MEng students : Betty Henderson

MS students in BME, ECE, MEMS, and MatSci: Betty Henderson

MS students in CEE: Maxine Sanders