Reduced Course Load

In order to maintain F-1 or J-1 status, you must be enrolled in a full course of study each semester. Summer enrollment is not required unless it is your first term of enrollment.

Full time is as follows:

  • Undergraduate Students - 12 Credits
  • Graduate Students - 9 Credits (in some cases teaching projects may be considered full time. Please check with your department)

There are valid academic and medical reasons for reducing your courses load. The following reasons are allowable to drop below full-time. You must have prior authorization to reduce credits.

Academic Difficulties

  • Initial difficulty with the English language or reading assignments (only possible in the first semester)
  • Unfamiliar US teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement (only once per academic career)

Final Semester of Study

  • Undergraduate or Masters degree student completing program of study at the end of the current term.

Medical Condition

  • Temporary illness or medical condition. You must attach a signed letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor or osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist. The letter must substantiate the illness or medical condition.

Completed Course Work

  • Graduate student who has completed all required course work and is studying for preliminary examinations or working on a thesis or dissertation.

What you must do:

  • Schedule an appointment with the office of International Education to discuss reasons for wanting to enroll less than full time.
  • Complete the Reduced Coursework Application Form

What the Office of International Education Must Do:

  • Verify your eligibility for a reduced course load
  • Update your SEVIS record to authorize reduced course lead
  • File all supporting documentation