International Students: Reduced Course Load in Your Final Semester
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.
For undergraduate students a minimum of 12 credits is considered full-time enrollment; for graduate students, typically a minimum of 9 credits is considered full-time enrollment. However, you should confirm with your academic department as to what full-time enrollment is for your academic program.
F-1 and J-1 international students are required to apply for an authorized reduced course load if it is your last semester before you graduate and you have fewer than full-time credits left to finish your degree or program.If you register or drop below full-time without permission from OGS AND your academic department, then you will lose the benefits of F-1 and J-1 status and you will be unable to stay and study in the US. This may impact your eligibility for F-1 CPT or OPT or J-1 Academic Training.
If you have concerns about course enrollment during your last semester, speak with an OGS advisor before your course registration is complete.
How to Apply
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.
Once you've confirmed with your academic department, register for the classes you intend/need to take, even if that means you will register below what is considered full-time for your academic program. You will then seek permission from OGS for that reduced course load amount as indicated in Step 2.
Submit Your Reduced Course Load Permission Request to OGS
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.