Special Guidelines for International Students

If you are an international student on an F-1 visa status, you may need authorization by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before you can work.

Unpaid Internships: You should consult with the International Student Program to see if the experience might be considered employment by immigration and labor standards.

Paid Internships: You will need authorization from the Department of Homeland Security. Your best option is to register your internship for academic credit so you may participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT). See details below. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • CPT is an authorization for a paid or unpaid internship for which you are receiving credit (in your intended or declared major).
  • CPT is only available during your 4 years at Mac. 
  • You must re-apply for CPT before every paid internship.
  • There is no limit to part-time CPT (less than 20 hours/week). However, a student who does 12 months of full-time CPT forfeits all his/her OPT time. Don't worry; it is unusual to do 12 months of full time CPT. 
  • CPT should be done in coordination with the Internship Program, an academic supervisor, and the work site.

International students completing a paid or unpaid summer internship are eligible for a 1-credit tuition fee waiver (tuition for Summer 2016 is $1,521 per credit). This waiver is intended to help students who are required to register for credit in order to complete their paid/unpaid summer internship. This is applicable to international students doing paid/unpaid internships (as required by the Department of Homeland Security), or students doing internships whose internship site requires them to receive credit as a condition of employment. Contact Mike Porter at or 651.696.6251 for details.

In order to start a paid or unpaid internship, you need a CPT authorization from the U.S. Government. This checklist will enable you to track your progress towards a lawful and rewarding internship: 

  • Review the registration handout from the Internship Program Office (Kagin 1st floor). This handout will outline the internship process. You may also find this info on our registration page
  • Complete your learning contract on Handshake
  • Once your internship has been approved, the Internship Program will notify you via Handshake. The Internship Program will also email a copy of your learning contract to ISP to process your Curricular Practical Training (CPT). You must pick up your authorization from ISP before you start your internship.
  • Come into the Internship Program for your Add/Drop slip. Then take your signed Add/Drop slip (or summer registration slip) to the Registrar's Office.

For DHS applications and immigration related questions, contact Aaron Colhapp, Director of International Student Programs, at 651.696.6078 or or Luyen Phan, Assistant Director of International Student Programs, at 651-696-6078 or.