International Students

 CPT Instructions  

Overview of CPT

Provides work experience on chemical engineering in relevant intern or fieldwork experience as part of their program of study as determined by the instructor. A written report describing their experience and how it relates to the chemical engineering core curriculum is required. Employer feedback on student performance and the quality of the report are the basis of the grade. This course may not be taken for pass/fail credit or audited.

Only up to 3 points of CHENE E3999 can be credited toward the BS degree.

Only up to 3 points of CHENE E4999 can be credited toward the MS degree. Furthermore, students who take CHENE E4999 can only use a maximum of 3 points of CHEN E 9400 in fulfillment of the MS degree.

 ✓ CPT Employer Letter

The letter must:

1. be on official company letterhead

2. have a specific start date and a specific end date

3. include the location where your work will be performed

4. include the number of hours per week you will work

5. include a description of your position duties

6. be signed and dated by your employer

You may review our example letter as a sample, but do not submit this.

✓ CPT Request Form Must be completed by you and your department

 *All reports must not contain any confidential information about the employer or the work done for the employer.


Step 1: Email with the Employer Offer Letter and the filled in CPT Form.

Step 2: Pick up the signed CPT Form from the Department.

Step 3: Submit the CPT form and any other documentation to ISSO.

Step 4: Register for the appropriate class (CHENE E3999 for Undergraduates and CHENE E4999 for Master Students)

Step 5: Received the syllabus from the assigned instructor.


Recommendation for CPT Guidelines:

Undergraduate CPT
Course: E3999
Summer Semester (May not count toward Technical Elective Credit)
Part Time (Less Than 20 Hours a Week)
1.0 Credits
Full Time (More Than 20 Hours a Week)
1.0 to 2 Credits
Masters CPT
Course: E4999
Summer Semester (Does count toward degree)
Part Time (Less Than 20 Hours a Week)
1 to 3 Credits       3 Credits is Recommended
Full Time (More Than 20 Hours a Week)
1 to 3 Credits       3 Credits is Recommended
Spring / Fall Semester (Does count toward degree)
Part Time (Less Than 20 Hours a Week)
1 to 3 Credits       3 Credits is Recommended
Full Time (More Than 20 Hours a Week)
Not Allowed
CPT – Maximum of 3 credits is allowed for the duration of the Master’s Program.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 Optional Practical Training or OPT allows F-1 students to work for one year (possible extension for another 17 months). After completing nine months of study towards their degree, students with F-1 status are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)to work on a student visa to get practical training to complement their studies.

H-1B Visa Application

How can you continue working after OPT ends?

The H-1B Visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

  1. Application Information
    After OPT expires, the H-1B Visa allows international employees to continue working in the US.During your job search, you need to pay special attention to which companies in your field are sponsoring H-1B Visasand whether they hire foreign nationals. Use the resources below to explore your H-1B options as early as possible and avoid limitations due tothe cap.
  2. Sponsorship Process for Companies
    Some employers have a policy of not hiring foreign nationals and strictly abide by it, in many cases though, this is due to a lack of awareness about the process. Take initiative and learn about all aspects of the process and share this information with your employer.

English Language Programs

Compared with the Job Search of US Citizens, trying to find a job in the United States can be much more challenging for international students, even if you may have the skills employers are seeking. Language barriers can often contribute to this difficulty. Therefore, it is of great importance for international students who are non-native speakers to develop solid English proficiency. You can make use of resources in Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide, to improve your communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Additionally, the English Language Program offered at and outside of Columbia University is a great resource. You can also refer to the English Language Classes and Resources recommended by Columbia University Center for Career Education.





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