While you are in the U.S. in F-1 status, you must remain continuously enrolled for a full course load at Emerson College until you have completed your program of study. If you interrupt your studies (due to a leave of absence, suspension, or withdrawal), your SEVIS record and Form I-20 will become invalid and will not be able to remain legally in the U.S.

If you are considering a break in studies, please consult with your OISA advisor prior to dropping your Emerson enrollment so that you can discuss your legal options. 

In addition, you will also need to file a request for a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal with the Office of Student Success or Graduate Studies.

If you need to take a leave of absence due to illness or a medical condition, you may qualify for a medical Reduced Course Load that would allow you to interrupt your studies with the recommendation of a medical doctor. 

If you decide to take a leave of absence for personal reasons, OISA may be able to grant you an “authorized early withdrawal” which would allow you a 15-day period to depart the country. Withdrawing from full-time enrollment without prior OISA authorization may result in termination of your SEVIS record.

Students should submit requests for an authorized Reduced Course Load to OISA through Terra Dotta:

  • Navigate to the Control Center
  • Select the icon for Reduced Course Load Request
  • Follow the prompts to complete the form