In general international students in F-1 or J-1 status must be enrolled full-time or at least 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students. During the semester there may be cause for a student to drop part of their enrollment and be considered less than full-time. Students who wish to reduce their course load must speak with their academic advisor and OIS prior to taking any action to drop below the minimum full-time credit hour requirement.
Keep your F-1/J-1 status safe! Please plan carefully and think about both your academic plan and immigration status when making any changes to your enrollment. Your academic advisor may not be familiar with F-1 or J-1 requirements so it is your responsibility to know the regulations.
A couple of additional things to keep in mind concerning your schedule are audited courses and online courses. Audited courses do not carry any credit and therefore do NOT count towards full-time enrollment. If you audit courses you should not include those credits when calculating full-time enrollment. (Courses taken as “Pass/Fail” do carry credit and therefore do count towards full-time enrollment for immigration purposes.) In addition, only one online course can count towards your full-time enrollment each semester, so most of your classes need to be on-campus.
Before making any schedule changes, make sure you 1) will still be enrolled in full-time credits OR 2) qualify and are authorized by OIS for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) before dropping below full-time. More information about the RCL eligibility and request process can be found on our website. You must be authorized for the RCL BEFORE dropping below full-time.