All F-1 and J-1 international students must register full-time every semester or receive permission from OGS for a reduced course load (RCL), which is anything less than full-time registration. 

Special Note about Online Courses

Please note, F-1 regulations state that only one online class may count towards full-time enrollment in any fall or spring semester.

F-1 students must take at least 1 in-person course in their final semester even with permission from OGS for a reduced course load during final semester.  Students who enroll in only online courses in their final semester do so at their own risk of difficulties and/or denials of future OPT requests, visa or change of status requests and F-1 visa renewals.

J-1 students cannot consider online course enrollment as part of their required full-time enrollment.

If you have concerns about online course enrollment during your final semester, speak with an OGS advisor during advising hours before your course registration is complete.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible for a reduced course load if:

  • it is your last semester before you graduate and you have fewer than 12 credits left to finish your degree or program.
  • it is your first semester in the US, and your department recommends English-language courses in addition to your studies.
  • you have a medical condition requiring you to take a leave of absence or a reduced course load. For permission to register less than full-time due to a medical reason, please follow the instructions for Medical Leave of Absence or Reduced Course Load.

If you have any other reason that prevents you from registering full-time, please speak to an OGS advisor during our advising hours. 


How to Apply

Step 1

Contact Your Academic Department

Contact your academic department to learn more about factors to consider and understand before registering for anything less than full-time. These factors could include:

  • graduation filing requirements, 
  • scholarship eligibility, and
  • other steps you need to take to get academic department approval for registering below full-time.

Step 2

Submit Your Reduced Course Load Permission Request to OGS

If you experience difficulty with the online request form, review our troubleshooting tips.

If Your Request is Approved

You will be notified by email within 5-7 business days.

If Your Request is Not Approved

You must register full-time. If you register or drop to below full-time without OGS permission, you will lose the benefits of lawful student status and be unable to stay and study in the US.