According to immigration regulations, an international student may not drop below a full-time course load unless authorized in advance by an adviser at the Office of International Services. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior authorization is considered to be "out of status."
What is a full-time course load?
Undergraduate Students: 12 credit hours per semester
Graduate Students: 9 credit hours per semester
ESL Students: 6 credit hours per semester
Please note: International students are permitted to count only one online course (3 credits) per semester towards the required number of credits to be enrolled as a full-time student. (A student may be enrolled in more than one online course -- but only one course counts towards the full-time course load.)
Dropping Below Full-time Course Load
If you will be studying less than full time, contact an adviser at the Office of International Services. Students may be authorized to drop below full time for these reasons only:
- Medical conditions: The student must provide current medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or a licensed clinical psychologist. The documentation must be provided each semester that the student is not enrolled full time. The student may be authorized to be less than full time for medical reasons for no more than an aggregate of 12 months in any degree program.
- Academic difficulties: Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements; unfamiliarity with American teaching methods; or improper course level placement. The student must submit a letter from an academic advisor explaining one of the above academic reasons. The student who studies less than full time due to academic difficulties must carry at least a half-time course load (i.e., for undergraduates, at least six hours per semester). After dropping below full-time, he/she must resume a full course of study in the next available semester to maintain student status. The student previously authorized to drop below full time due to academic reasons is not eligible for a second authorization for this reason.
- Final semester before completing a program: If the student does not need a full-time course load to complete the program in the final semester, he/she must bring a letter from the academic department to an adviser at the Office of International Services at the beginning of the semester.