Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Department of Economics International Students


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an authorization that allows international students an opportunity to gain employment training through an internship that can be directly-related to the student's academic work at the UW.

The process for applying-for and gaining CPT authorization can be complex, so it is important for students to carefully adhere to the CPT policies and procedures. We have created this page especially for international students in the Department of Economics to help understand this process.

Step 1: Get an Offer for an Economics-related Internship

For an internship to be considered economics-related, it must integrate a student's academic coursework to the internship's learning goals. Students are encouraged to examine learning outcomes for the internship and link those outcomes to academic theories and practices in economics to determine eligibility.

See here for a further definitions of "employment" vs. "internship" vs. "volunteering".

See here for our tips & resources for finding an internship.

Students must have an "offer letter" before they are able to submit a CPT Application.

Step 2: Review the CPT information on the International Student Services Website

For successful CPT approval, international students must submit a CPT Application with International Student Services (ISS). Please read the CPT Website very carefully.

Step 3: Submit an ECON 399 Application

Since the Department of Economics does not require completion of an internship as a part of its graduation requirements, the CPT Application requires that a student be registered for, and earn credits for, a course that relates your internship experience alongside your academic experience.

In the Department of Economics, this course is ECON 399: Economics Internship. Please read the ECON 399 website and instructions very carefully while completing your application.

Step 4: Submit a CPT Application with ISS

The application for CPT is located here. Please read all instructions carefully. For any questions regarding the CPT Application, please contact an ISS Adviser.

Step 5: ECON Adviser will complete the CPT "Adviser Section"

Once a student submits their CPT Application, a notification is sent to Economics Advising to verify information in the student's CPT Application. This is commonly referred to as the CPT's "Adviser Section".

The Adviser Section can only be completed once a student has successfully registered for ECON 399.

Once the student is registered for ECON 399, please allow the advisers at least 1-2 business days to complete the Adviser Section of the CPT Application.

ECON 399 credits cannot be retroactive for internship periods that have already occurred. In other words, you cannot receive credits for an internship you completed before the start of the quarter unless arranged ahead of time. 

Step 6: ISS Review and Approval of the CPT Application

Once a student's CPT Application (including the Adviser Section) has been approved by their ISS Adviser, then the student will receive authorization ("CPT I-20") to legally start working in their internship or employment training opportunity.

Students cannot begin their internship or employment training opportunity until they receive an updated CPT I-20. It is highly-advised to obtain this updated document before starting the internship.

In Summary:

  • In order to gain a work authorization for an off-campus internship, international students must successfully submit a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Application.
  • The CPT Application has two main requirements:
    • A verification that the student will register for a course that grants academic credit for the internship.
    • An authorization from the student's academic adviser, otherwise known as the "Adviser Section".
  • Registration of ECON 399 is required for the Adviser Section of the CPT Application. Completion of ECON 399 is required for each quarter of your internship.
  • Please allow up to 1-2 business days for ECON 399 Application processing & completion of the CPT Adviser Section.

Frequently Asked Questions

When filling out the CPT Application, who should I list as my "adviser"?

You may use the following information:

  • Approver Name: Patrick Pineda
  • Approver Email:
  • Approver Title: Senior Academic Counselor
  • Approver Organization: Department of Economics
  • Approver Phone Number: 206.543.3637
  • Approver Role: Academic Counselor

My internship time period will occur for more than one quarter. How should I register for ECON 399 to validate my CPT Application?

For those planning to work in internships that span more than one quarter, keep in mind that ECON 399 credit(s) will need to be earned for each quarter of the internship. 

A separate CPT Application is required for each quarter of the internship. Please be sure to submit a new CPT Application for each quarter of your internship, if your internship spans more than one quarter.

You only need to submit the ECON 399 Application once per internship, and you can indicate on the ECON 399 Application that you prefer to register for ECON 399 over multiple academic quarters. For example, for a 4-month internship, which spans over two quarters:

  • CPT Application #1 required + Registration of ECON 399 (1-5 credits) is required for Quarter #1.
  • CPT Application #2 required + Registration of ECON 399 (1-5 credits) is required for Quarter #2.

Example: Internship time period spans over 2 quarters. Separate ECON 399 credits and CPT Applications required for each quarter.

I have a summer (or summer+autumn) internship, but I do not wish to register for ECON 399 just for Summer Quarter, because it's my "vacation quarter". How should I register for ECON 399 to validate my CPT Application?

For those students planning to work in internships during the Summer Quarter, and wish to "defer" the ECON 399 credits to the following Autumn Quarter, please submit your ECON 399 Application & Learning Contract and indicate "Summer Quarter deferred to Autumn Quarter" when indicating the quarter that you are registering for ECON 399. A deferral of credits is generally allowed in most cases, and it is the student's responsibility to communicate this arrangement to the ECON 399 Faculty Instructor.

ISS only allows the 'deferral' of CPT-related academic credit from Summer Quarter into the subsequent Autumn Quarter. See a few example scenarios below:

Example #1: Internship occurs during UW Summer Quarter only. Student prefers to defer ECON 399 to subsequent Autumn Quarter.

Example #2: Internship period occurs during UW Summer Quarter and UW Autumn Quarter. Student prefers to be registered for all required ECON 399 credits in the Autumn Quarter only.

For my one-quarter internship, what are the maximum start & end dates that I can work?

Generally, for a one-quarter internship, the earliest start date can be 'the day after the end of the previous quarter, and the latest end date can be 'the day before the start of the next quarter'.

For example, for an internship that occurs during the UW Winter Quarter, the earliest start date will be the day after the previous Autumn Quarter ends, and the latest end date can be the day before the start of the subsequent Spring Quarter.

How many ECON 399 credits do I need to register for?

This is your choice! CPT authorization requires a minimum of 1 credit per quarter of internship work. Sometimes students may elect to earn more ECON 399 credits to help toward meeting overall graduation requirements. However, many students will elect to choose 1 credit per quarter of internship work.

Can I receive ECON 399 credit for a past internship experience?

No. ECON 399 credits cannot be granted retroactively for internship periods that have already occurred. The academic work for ECON 399 is expected to be done concurrently with the time period of the internship.

The only exception to this is for students who wish to defer their ECON 399 credits from Summer Quarter to the following Autumn Quarter. (See above.)

Some details about my internship have changed. How can I update my CPT Application?

Students must complete a new CPT Application for any changes to the details of their internship.

Examples of changes that will require a new CPT Application:

  • Changes to the internship start and/or end dates
  • Starting an internship, and partially-completing the internship
  • Starting an internship, and cancelling the internship

More information:


Please email Economics Advising at for any questions you may have regarding the above information and process.