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Getting Part-time Enrollment Approval

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are required by law to register for and complete a full course load every semester, or receive OGS approval for part-time enrollment. Please note, F-1 regulations stipulate that only one online class may count towards full time status in any fall or spring semester. Failure to comply with this regulation may have extremely severe consequences including removal from the United States.


When is part-time enrollment allowed?

Part-time enrollment is permitted only in limited circumstances based upon federal immigration regulations and requires the prior approval of the OGS. Part-time enrollment cannot be authorized retroactively. In order to apply for part-time enrollment, you must first discuss your situation with your academic advisor then apply to the OGS using the on-line form. Part-time enrollment is permitted if one of the following applies:

  • it is your first semester in the U.S., and your department recommends part-time study in addition to English-language courses
  • you have medical problems which require a temporary reduction in your courseload
  • it is your last semester prior to graduation, and you need less than 12 credits to satisfy your degree requirements

If you require part-time enrollment, you must follow this procedure:

  • Complete an on-line Part-Time Enrollment Request Form. Before doing this read the information at right to be sure you are not eligible for full-time eqivalency. If eligible for full-time equivalency, once you are full-time equivalent you do not need to submit a part-time enrollment request form.
  • Be sure to click the submit button and print the confirmation page for your records. You may be asked to present this form when visiting the OGS walk-in hours or when applying for on-campus employment.
  • If you are requesting part time-enrollment due to a medical condition, you must bring a letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist to the OGS during walk-in advising hours before or after submitting your online part time enrollment request. This letter must
    • state your full name
    • recommend that you enroll less than full time, or not at all, for a specific time period due to a medical condition
  • An OGS advisor will review your request form and notify you by e-mail that your request has been approved or denied (or request more information if necessary).
  • If approval is not granted, you must register for a full courseload of 12 credits or more.

What happens if I do not get part-time enrollment approval?

If you are enrolled on a part-time basis but did not obtain OGS approval, you will lose the benefits of lawful student status and may even lose your eligibility to stay in the United States. These benefits include:

  • your eligibility to apply for on-campus employment or off-campus employment benefits, including practical or academic training
  • your eligibility to receive OGS recertification for travel outside of the U.S.
  • your eligibility to transfer to another educational institution in the U.S.
  • Students who are not in lawful student status may have to apply for reinstatement or depart the United States.

Are you eligible for full-time equivalency?

Graduate Students

Graduate students registered for less than 12 credits may, in certain situations, be granted "full-time equivalency" by their schools or academic departments. Once the full-time equivalency is granted, you do not need to obtain part-time enrollment approval from the OGS. Typically, full-time equivalency is granted if one of the following applies:

  • You are taking 8-9 credits of coursework, and working as a teaching or research assistant for your department
  • You are taking coursework and doing internship or fieldwork hours as required by your degree program (the combination of coursework and internship hours must constitute a full course of study and be part of an officially-published sequence of study)
  • You are completing or have fulfilled all coursework requirements and are working full-time on thesis or dissertation research (maintenance of matriculation)
    Your department curriculum officially designates a credit load less than 12 credits (e.g., 8 or 9 credits) as full-time for your program. This designation must apply to all students in the program and must have the approval of your school's dean and the OGS.
  • Students who are granted full-time equivalency must be designated as "full-time" or "fully-matriculated" by the University Registrar as reflected in NYU's Student Information System. In most cases you must request full-time equivalency from your department administrator. Please consult the OGS if you are unsure about your current enrollment designation.


Undergraduates must always be full-time by registering for and completing a minimum of 12 credits every fall and spring semester. However, a normal course of full-time study for undergraduates is typically 14-16 credits or more.

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