a. Enrollment and Reduced Course Loads

b. Traveling

c. Leave of absences

d. Options after Graduation

e. Transferring to another US School/University

a. Enrollment and Reduced Course Load (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii))

  • Full-Time Enrollment

All undergraduate international students must be at least enrolled for 12 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester, unless authorized by the International Student Advisor to do so. Full time enrollment at the graduate level varies depending on the program. full-time enrollment is usually either 6 or 9 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester. Please see your program advisor if you have any questions about what being enrolled full-time means for you.

  • Online Courses
  • International students are only allowed 1 online class or the equivalent of 3 credit hours each fall and spring semester, for both undergraduate and graduate students. International students do not have an online class restriction in the summer semester. 
  • During the final semester, international students are not allowed to only have an online class on their schedule. 
  • Reduced Course Load 

There are specific circumstances that an international student can be allowed to take/enroll in less than the required credit hours (12 for undergraduate/ 6-9 for graduate students) in a required term: Fall/Spring. Only the following reasons apply:

1. First Semester Only

a. Difficulty with the English Language
b. Unfamiliarity with the American Classroom

2. Medical Condition (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii)(B) )

Medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist, must be provided to apply for a reduced course load for the term.

3. Final Semester before completing program

At the start of the final semester, inform the international student advisor that it is you have applied for graduation, and that you will be graduating in said semester. 

If you think that any of the reasons mentioned above may apply to your situation, make an appointment with your International Student Advisor/Exchange Student Advisor.

How to apply for Reduced Course Load Authorization

  1. Make an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss your situation.
  2. If you are requesting a medical reduced course load, please request a letter from your doctor (licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist) with the following information: 
    1. What your medical condition is;
    2. If they are recommending you to take less classes or not; and
    3. How/why your medical condition would affect your ability to be enrolled full-time
  3. Discuss your situation with the international student advisor, and if for medical reasons, submit the letter to the Center for International Programs/ international student advisor. 
  4. If your request for a reduced course load is approved, you will get an email to pick up your updated form I-20 with the reduced course load authorization.


  • Each course load authorization is only valid for one semester.