Experiential Learning for International Students

As an international student, you have the option to incorporate a co-op, internship, or XN Project into your program. We recommend you begin at the start of your degree to ensure it is integrated into your course of study—helping you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible while you are at Northeastern.

Before you can participate in a co-op, internship, or XN project you must:

  • Download the International Student Co-op/Internship Checklist
  • Enroll in INT 5900(Graduate)/INT 2000 (Undergrad) Preparing for Experiential Learning
  • Obtain approval from your Experiential Learning Advisor (ELA) once you have a job offer letter in hand     
  • Apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization with your ELA; which requires you to complete the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Authorization Request Form (along with the accompanying documents listed on the form) from the Office of Global Services (OGS)
  • Please note: CPT is NOT required for XN Projects, but you must apply for an XN Project and meet eligibility requirements in order to be matched with an employer sponsor

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.

Once you are granted CPT authorization, you receive:

  • Location and date-specific CPT authorization
  • The opportunity to participate in a co-op or internship

Please note that you need CPT authorization for all unpaid and paid positions. If you have already completed your degree requirements, you cannot receive CPT authorization.

CPT Application Guide

CPT Placement 

Important Dates and Deadlines:

  • Start dates occur at the beginning of each of the four graduate terms (January, April, July, and September) or undergraduate semesters (September and January)
  • All students are required to participate in a 3- or 4-credit course, COP 6940 (G) or COP 3940 (UG) / Personal and Career Development for the first 12 weeks of a co-op or internship
  • The co-op department must be notified 3-4 weeks before the intended start, to allow time for processing and authorization
  • Students who plan to extend their internship or co-op past 3 months must notify the office 2-3 weeks before the end of their CPT authorization so that a renewal can be processed
  • Co-ops and internships must run for a minimum of 12 weeks to earn credit
  • XN Projects are around 6 weeks in length; students will be enrolled in the 0 credit INT 5964 reflection course along with their project. A 3- or 4-q.h. credit-bearing course is offered for certain majors, and satisfies an elective in those degree programs; ask your ELA for more information
  • All deadlines are FINAL and we will not be accepting late requests or submissions.

Students who receive a paid position and do not have a social security number (SSN) must apply for a SSN once they have received CPT authorization.

The OGS website will provide you with additional important information on procedures and forms to ensure legal authorization.

Office of Global Services

405 Ell Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
617-373-2310 (office)