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. For F-1 students, one (3 credit) online or distance education course may be used each semester to help satisfy full-time enrollment requirements. J-1 students are limited to one online or distance education course each semester. Students who have authorization to take a reduced course load and 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.
Distance Education (Online)
F-1 students may use one (3 credit) online or distance education course each semester to help satisfy full-time enrollment requirements.
J-1 students are limited to one online or distance education course each semester.
Students who have authorization to take a reduced course load and will take only one course in a semester are not permitted to take that course through on-line or distance education.
International Students 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 Online 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 Online program after arrival to NC State University.
J-1 students (and sponsored F-1 students) are prohibited from enrolling in DE 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 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.
Returning students are not required by immigration regulations to enroll in the summer session IF they were full-time in the spring and will continue their enrollment in the fall. In these cases, summer is considered a “vacation term.” Students may choose to study, return home, or work on campus (or off-campus if eligible and if authorized in advance).
Full-time enrollment in the summer IS required for international students beginning or finishing their program of study in the summer term. Students may only count one DE/online course per summer term towards their full-time enrollment. Students who will take only one course in a term are not permitted to take that course through online or distance education. More specifically,
Graduate students must enroll in at least 1 credit hour over the course of the summer (in either term), which cannot be exclusively DE/online.
Undergraduate students must enroll in at least 4 credit hours EACH summer term to be considered full-time, toward which only one DE course can be used to satisfy full-time requirements.*
- If a student is beginning in the Summer I term, the student must be enrolled in at least 4 credit hours in Summer I and another 4 credit hours in the Summer II term.
- If a student is beginning in the Summer II term (for example, students in the Summer Start program), the student must be enrolled in at least 4 credit hours in just the Summer II term.
- If a student will graduate in the Summer I term, they must enroll in at least 4 credit hours, or submit a final semester reduced course load request (see below). Even in using the RCL, students cannot enroll exclusively in DE coursework in their final term.
- If a student will graduate in the Summer II term, Summer I may still be considered a vacation term, and therefore not subject to the full-time enrollment requirements. The student would still be required to enroll in at least 4 credit hours in the Summer II term, or submit a final semester reduced course load request (see below). Even in using the RCL, students cannot enroll exclusively in DE coursework in their final term.
Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment Requirement
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, health insurance, and GSSP eligibility 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, as well as with your DGP and the GSSP Coordinator in the Graduate School regarding your GSSP eligibility, if applicable.
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.