Credit Hours

International students must be enrolled full-time each academic semester (minimum of 12 credits for undergraduates and minimum of 8 credits for graduate students) unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA). If they do not enroll for a full course load (or receive prior written approval to be under-enrolled in a given semester) they will be subject to un-enrollment by the College and termination in SEVIS.

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services only allows a reduction in course load (or, if necessary, no course load) in certain cases and only with the approval of the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA).

  • F-1 and J-1 international students must be enrolled in at least the following number of credit hours EVERY fall and spring semester to maintain legal status:
    • 12 credit hours: international undergraduate students
    • 8 credit hours: international graduate students

Reduced Course Load

A Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) must authorize exceptions for a reduced course load (RCL). Failure to authorize RCL status prior to the drop results in the student losing his/her legal status. Acceptable reasons for RCL authorization are:

  •   Medical
  •   Improper course placement
  •   Initial difficulty with the English language ability
  •   Initial difficulty with American Teaching Methods
  •   Final semester of a student’s academic program

Undergraduate students or Master’s Non-Thesis students are only permitted to be on reduced course load ONCE during their final semester. They are approved to do this provided that they have completed all their required coursework and have less than full-time required academic work remaining for the completion of their degree.

Registration Requirement

Undergraduate Students or Master’s Non-Thesis students simply register for the required courses still remaining for completion of degree.

  • All requests for reduced course load status other than during a student’s final semester must be received at OISA by the first day of the academic session for which the student is requesting the reduction in course load status, through the submittal of the ‘Special Request for a Reduced Course Load’ form.
  • Students with questions on Reduced Course Load based on a medical condition or other extenuating circumstances should contact OISA at (617) 824-7858.