International students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout their program, uphold good academic standing and make normal academic progress toward their degree objective. Full-time enrollment at NC State University is normally defined as 12 or more credit hours for undergraduate students and a minimum of 9 hours per semester for graduate students. One (3 credit) on-line or distance education course may be used each semester to help satisfy full-time enrollment requirements. Students who will take only one course in a semester are not permitted to take that course through on-line or distance education. Please note: Requirements for full-time enrollment may vary each semester based on remaining program requirements, pending completion of the academic program, and/or thesis research. 

Enrollment and Distance Education

Foreign nationals will not be granted F-1 and J-1 visa documentation (the I-20 and DS-2019 respectively) based on admission to a Distance Education (DE) or On-line program. Additionally, it is a violation of status for an F-1 or J-1 student to change curriculum or major from a traditional course of study to a DE or On-line program after arrival to NC State University.

Sponsored F-1 and J-1 students are prohibited from enrolling in DE courses with or attending courses at NC State alternate sites of instruction, including but not limited to sites related to programs with the College of Education and the MBA program at Research Triangle Park. Any questions about international students and enrollment at alternate sites of instruction should be directed to the Office of International Services.

Audit courses

Audit courses do not carry any credit and therefore do not count towards full-time enrollment. Any students who audit courses should not include such courses when calculating full-time enrollment. Courses taken as “Pass/Fail” do carry credit and therefore do count towards full-time enrollment for immigration purposes. Students should always consult with their academic advisor’s concerning enrollment and changes to enrollment prior to taking any action. Students may also refer to the NC State University Policies, Regulations and Rules Handbook for further information.

Summer enrollment

Students are not required by immigration regulations to enroll in the summer session if they were full-time students in the spring and will continue their enrollment in the fall. Students may choose to study, return home, or work on campus (or off-campus if eligible and if authorized in advance) in the summer. Students authorized for full-time CPT may also be exempted from enrolling in classes without jeopardizing their nonimmigrant status, but should check with their DGP or advisor first.

Exceptions to full time enrollment

There are certain exceptions to these course-loads and a few circumstances when part-time enrollment can be authorized in SEVIS. Unauthorized drop in course-load, withdrawal, or part-time enrollment is a reportable visa violation and OIS is required by law to terminate the SEVIS record of students who fail to maintain full-time enrollment, so any deviation, question, or problem regarding full-time enrollment should be discussed beforehand with an OIS advisor.

PLEASE NOTE: There may be financial consequences for dropping below full-time status. Please check with the cashier’s office to confirm if there will be any issues with your student account.

International students who complete all academic program requirements and/or meet Graduate School no-registration deadlines are considered to have completed their program for visa purposes and are neither required, nor permitted, to enroll for an additional semester.