17 Best Day 1 CPT Universities in the U.S.

Updated on April 19, 2024

At a Glance

  • CPT is an employment program for F1 visa students involving supervised fieldwork.
  • Some universities allow immediate CPT upon arrival, with three types: degree-based, course-based, and cooperative.
  • Eligibility criteria include a valid F1 visa, maintaining visa status, choosing a major, having a specific internship related to the major, and being enrolled for course credit.
  • Universities like Westcliff, Harrisburg, Monroe, and more offer CPT from day 1.

Selecting a U.S. university is crucial, especially if you aim to work and undergo job training there. This article reviews the top 15 U.S. universities offering Day 1 CPT.

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is mandatory for F1 visa students, involving supervised fieldwork essential for degree completion. For detailed information on CPT, read here.

If you’re looking for US universities offering CPT immediately upon arrival, this article provides a list based on reader input. However, its accuracy isn’t guaranteed.

For specifics about a university’s CPT support, research the school’s website or contact them directly.

What is Day 1 CPT?

Day 1 CPT refers to the ability of an F-1 visa student to begin CPT, or work in a field related to their major, from the first day of their academic program in the United States. This contrasts with the more typical scenario where students might have to wait a year before becoming eligible for CPT.

Universities that offer Day 1 CPT provide an avenue for students to work immediately upon starting their academic program. This can be especially attractive for students who are looking to gain practical work experience in the U.S. right from the start of their studies.

Understanding Day 1 CPT Universities

Navigating the world of education and visas can be intricate, especially when it comes to the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) offered by universities.

  • Traditionally, most universities don’t grant CPT during the initial semesters of study.
  • Generally, F1 students become eligible for practical training after completing one academic year.
  • However, if the curriculum mandates, F1 students can be authorized for practical training right from the start.
  • Remember, CPT authorization should align with the student’s academic degree objectives.

When Rules Bend: The Exceptions

While the mentioned guidelines shape the standard CPT practices, certain situations allow for deviations.

  • Some courses may necessitate CPT during the initial semesters.
  • Graduate students, in specific cases, might not have to wait for an entire academic year before embarking on practical training.

CPT and Day 1 CPT Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for either form of CPT, you must:

Have a valid F1 visa

  • The student’s visa must be properly maintained for each semester
  • The student must have chosen a major
  • The student must have a specific, major-related internship
  • The student must not be a visiting exchange student
  • For CPT, the student must have been enrolled for one academic year
  • For Day 1 CPT, practical training may begin day one

Be enrolled for course credit

  • The student must be enrolled for 1 to 2 units of a major-related internship
  • CPT must be an integral part of the student’s course requirements
  • The student must have a CPT job offer before submitting a CPT authorization request

17 Universities That Offer CPT from Day 1: Overview

The following 17 universities allow F1 students to begin their CPT on — or near — day 1, making them an excellent choice for higher education in the US:

School NameLocationVisit
Westcliff UniversityIrvine, Californiahttps://www.westcliff.edu/
Harrisburg UniversityHarrisburg, Pennsylvaniahttps://www.harrisburgu.edu/
Monroe CollegeBronx, New Yorkhttps://www.monroecollege.edu/
New England CollegeHenniker, New Hampshirehttps://www.nec.edu/
Trine UniversityAngola, Indianahttps://www.trine.edu/
Sofia UniversityPalo Alto, Californiahttps://www.sofia.edu/
CiAMAlhambra, Californiahttps://www.ciam.edu/
Humphreys UniversityStockton, Californiahttps://www.humphreys.edu/
Ottawa UniversityOttawa, Kansashttps://www.ottawa.edu/
Saint Peter’s UniversityJersey City, New Jerseyhttps://www.saintpeters.edu/
National Louis UniversityChicago, Illinoishttps://www.nl.edu/
McDaniel CollegeWestminster, Marylandhttps://www.mcdaniel.edu/
University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, Kentuckyhttps://www.ucumberlands.edu/
Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas, Texashttps://www.dbu.edu/
Sullivan UniversityLouisville, Kentuckyhttps://www.sullivan.edu/
Campbellsville UniversityCampbellsville, Kentuckyhttps://www.campbellsville.edu/
Avila UniversityKansas City, Missourihttps://www.avila.edu/

Talk to an advisor

Navigating the CPT process doesn’t have to be daunting. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the requirements and steps involved, our team of experts is here to lend a hand. We can help you understand the eligibility criteria, gather the required documents, and smoothly guide you through the application process. Let us make your travel to the United States for leisure or medical purposes as stress-free as possible.

Top Day 1 CPT Universities in the U.S. (2024)

Below, we will explore the top Day 1 CPT schools in more detail.

Westcliff University

Situated in Irvine, CA, Westcliff University offers Day 1 CPT in MBA and other programs. This university is popular for providing flexibility to international students, with both online and in-person classes.

  • Location: Irvine, CA; Miami, FL
  • Tuition: $28,620 (Master) / $51,300 (DBA)
  • Duration: 1- 4 years depending on the program
  • On-Site Visit: Once a month
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Harrisburg University

Located in Harrisburg, PA, this university offers various STEM programs, particularly in the IT and data analytics fields. It’s well-regarded among international students due to its Day 1 CPT options.

  • Location: Harrisburg, PA
  • Programs: MS Analytics, MSCIS, MS Healthcare Informatics, MS PM, and more.
  • Tuition: $35,880 per program
  • Duration: 2 years
  • On-Site Visit: Once a month
  • CPT Renewal: Annually

Monroe College

Monroe College, based in New Rochelle, NY, offers a variety of programs with Day 1 CPT for international students. The college is recognized for its commitment to hands-on, practical education.

  • Location: New Rochelle, NY
  • Programs: MBA, MS CS (STEM), MS Data Science (STEM), Data Science Certificate Program
  • Tuition: Estimated $11,104 – $16,336 per year
  • Duration: 1-2 years
  • On-Site Visit: Once a month
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

New England College

Based in Henniker, NH, New England College is known for its diverse programs and Day 1 CPT offerings, ensuring international students can integrate their studies with practical experience.

  • Location: Henniker, NH
  • Programs: Executive MSDA, Executive MBA, MSIT, MSPM
  • Tuition: $16,944-$18,704 per program
  • Duration: 20 Months – 2 years
  • On-Site Visit: 3-day long classes every semester, usually on weekends
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester
  • Scholarships: Contact us to confirm your eligibility and receive free consultation as well as CPT application assistance post-enrollment.

Trine University

Located in Angola, IN, Trine University has an emphasis on engineering and business programs. It offers Day 1 CPT for various programs, making it a sought-after option for international students.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ; Allen Park, MI
  • Programs: MBA, MSBA[STEM], MS-Engineering Management[STEM], MS-Information Studies[STEM]
  • Tuition: $17,250 per program
  • Duration: 1-3 years, contingent on course scheduling
  • On-Site Visit: Once per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Annually

Sofia University

Located in Palo Alto, CA, Sofia University provides a unique blend of transformative education, with Day 1 CPT options in areas like business and computer science.

  • Location: Palo Alto, CA; Cost Mesa, CA
  • Programs: MAB, MSCS (STEM)
  • Tuition: $20,280 – $25,480
  • Duration: 2-3 years
  • On-Site Visit: Once a month
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester


Based in Alhambra, CA, CiAM (California Institute of Advanced Management) is specifically known for its MBA programs with Day 1 CPT options. The school emphasizes a real-world approach to business education.

  • Location: Alhambra, CA
  • Programs: MBA
  • Tuition: $24,000
  • Duration: 2 years
  • On-Site Visit: 2-3 times per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Humphreys University

Located in Stockton, CA, Humphreys University offers an MBA-IT program with Day 1 CPT. The institution is known for its personalized approach to education.

  • Location: Stockton, CA
  • Programs: MBA-IT
  • Tuition: $21,000
  • Duration: 2.5 years
  • On-Site Visit: 1 weekend per semester

Ottawa University

With campuses in Wisconsin and Kansas, Ottawa University offers a range of advanced business programs. Their Day 1 CPT options are valuable for students seeking a blend of academic and professional experience.

  • Location: Brookfield, WI; Overland Park, KS
  • Programs: EMBA, DBA
  • Tuition: $29,940 – $49.725 per program
  • Duration: EMBA – 2 years; DBA – 3 years
  • On-Site Visit: 2 times per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Year

Saint Peter’s University

Based in Jersey City, NJ, this university is recognized for its programs in business analytics and data science. Their Day 1 CPT program is especially popular among tech-savvy international students.

  • Location: Jersey City, NJ
  • Programs: MS Business Analytics, MS Data Science
  • Tuition: $25,000 – $28,000 per program
  • Duration: 15-20 months, depending on program and course selection
  • On-Site Visit: 2 weekends per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every semester

National Louis University

Located in Tampa, FL, the university is known for its Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program with Day 1 CPT, providing a comprehensive path for aspiring business leaders.

  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • Programs: DBA
  • Tuition: $49,920
  • Duration: 3.5 – 4 years
  • On-Site Visit: Once per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

McDaniel College

Based in Westminster, MD, McDaniel College emphasizes data analytics in its programs. Their Day 1 CPT options ensure students gain practical insights alongside theoretical knowledge.

  • Location: Westminster, MD
  • Programs: MS Data Analytics
  • Tuition: $20,250
  • Duration: 2 years
  • On-Site Visit: Once per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Year

University of the Cumberlands

Located in Kentucky, this university offers a wide array of programs, from business to digital forensics, with Day 1 CPT options. They blend traditional values with modern education.

  • Location: Williamsburg, KY; Florence, KY
  • Programs: MBA, MS Digital Forensics [STEM], Master in Global Business with Blockchain Technology [STEM], and more.
  • Tuition: $17,500 – $46,200 per program
  • Duration: 20 months for Master’s; 3-4 years for PhD programs
  • On-Site Visit: Once per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Dallas Baptist University

Situated in Dallas, TX, this Christian university offers Day 1 CPT in multiple programs, including IT and business. Their emphasis on faith-based education sets them apart.

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Tuition: $45,756 – $51,476
  • Duration: 3 years
  • On-Site Visit: Bi-weekly
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Sullivan University

Located in Kentucky, Sullivan University provides a range of management and business programs. Their Day 1 CPT options cater to both master’s and doctoral students.

  • Location: Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY
  • Programs: EMBA, MS Management, PhD. in Management, and more.
  • Tuition: Master’s Degree – $31,680 ($42,240 for a dual degree program); PhD Degree – $70,200
  • Duration: Master’s – 18-24 months; PhD – 3-4 years
  • On-Site Visit: Twice per semester
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Campbellsville University

This Kentucky-based university is known for its business and IT programs. Offering Day 1 CPT, it provides a holistic approach to education, blending theory with practice.

  • Locations: Campbellsville, KY, Louisville, KY, and more.
  • Programs: PMBA, IT Management [STEM], MSCS [STEM], and more.
  • Tuition: $16,500 -$19.800
  • Duration: 20-24 months
  • On-Site Visit: 1 weekend per semester

Avila University

Located in Kansas City, MO, Avila University offers diverse programs in management, psychology, and more, with Day 1 CPT options. The university is known for its commitment to excellence and innovation.

  • Locations: Kansas City, MO
  • Programs: MBA, MS Management, MS Psychology, and more.
  • Tuition: $18,600 -$21,600
  • Duration: 18-24 months
  • On-Site Visit: Once per month
  • CPT Renewal: Every Semester

Remember, when considering Day 1 CPT programs, always ensure you’re following immigration guidelines and are aware of any potential risks associated with the programs. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or specialist when making such decisions.

Other Stilt Resources

Day 1 CPT University FAQ

Yes, Day 1 CPT schools are legal, but it’s crucial to select accredited institutions and be mindful of the associated guidelines.

What universities offer Day 1 CPT in California?

Several universities in California offer Day 1 CPT programs, including Westcliff University, Sofia University, and CiAM. Be sure to verify program details and eligibility requirements with each institution.

How do Day 1 CPT universities differ from traditional universities?

Day 1 CPT universities often emphasize practical experience, while traditional universities tend to focus more on research-oriented approaches.

How do I choose Day 1 CPT universities?

When selecting a Day 1 CPT university, it’s crucial to consider factors like accreditation, program relevance to your career goals, location, and compliance with immigration regulations. Additionally, research the university’s reputation and the availability of support services for international students.

Is Day 1 CPT worth it?

The value of Day 1 CPT varies from person to person. It can provide practical work experience while pursuing your degree, which can be beneficial for some students. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully and ensure that it aligns with your long-term career goals and immigration plans.

Can I work 40 hours on Day 1 CPT?

In some cases, Day 1 CPT allows students to work full-time (40 hours per week) during their authorized CPT periods. However, this is subject to approval by the university’s designated school official (DSO) and compliance with immigration regulations.

Does Day 1 CPT affect H1B eligibility?

Participating in Day 1 CPT may affect your eligibility for H1B visa sponsorship. It’s essential to consult with an immigration attorney or advisor to understand how your specific situation and work experience may impact your H1B visa prospects.

Can Day 1 CPT affect green card eligibility?

Day 1 CPT participation can influence your green card eligibility, as USCIS may scrutinize your immigration history, including any CPT work experience. Consult with an immigration attorney to assess how your specific circumstances may affect your green card application.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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