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Less than Full Time


In order to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status, international students must either be enrolled full-time or receive permission from the International Students and Scholars Services office for a credit hour reduction or full-time exception prior to the quarter in question.

The minimum full-time enrollment requirement is as follows:

Undergraduate Students - 12 credit hours
Graduate Students - 9 credit hours

  • Courses that are audited do NOT count towards meeting the minimum full-time enrollment requirement.
  • Online/ distance learning courses: Only 3 credit hours may be counted towards meeting the minimum full-time enrollment requirement.


In some instances, international students may be authorized to reduce their course load. This authorization must be requested prior to the beginning of the term the reduction is requested for. Any student who fails to enroll in a full course of study by the add/drop deadline, or drops below a full course of study without prior authorization by the ISSS, is considered to be out of status.

Please be advised that a lack of financial support does not constitute a valid reason to reduce course load according to U.S. Federal Regulations.

Exceptions to the full course of study requirements are very limited; however, if deemed appropriate ISSS may authorize a student to reduce his/ her course load in adherence to the Federal Regulation:

Academic Reasons (limit one time only; minimum enrollment of six credit hours required) (8CFR214.2 (f)(6)(v)

  • Is having initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements
  • Is experiencing unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • Student was placed in an inappropriate course level.


  • To Complete Course of Study in Current Term (8CFR214.2(f)(6)(ii)
  • Illness or Medical Condition (8CFR214.2(f)(5)(i)

International students may be authorized to drop or withdraw from classes in the case that the student experiences unforeseen illness or a medical condition. A reduction in courses due to medical reasons must be authorized for each term in question, not to exceed 12 months. The student must provide a statement by a licensed U.S. medical professional documenting the following:

  • The medical necessity to reduce courses
  • The term for which the reduction is requested for
  • Reduction in course or withdrawal