Taking a Reduced Course Load


A student in F-1 or J-1 student status may not reduce his or her course load below full-time without prior permission of the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS). In cases where this is allowed, a Deviation Form must be completed and submitted to the OIPS in order to properly document the reduction in the student’s immigration file and reported to the Immigration Service through SEVIS.  Per immigration regulation, a reduced course load may be taken only for the following reasons AND only for one semester during each education level:

  • This is the student’s final semester of course work prior to completion of the degree.
  • Student has initial difficulty with English language. (NOTE: May only be used during the first semester.)
  • Student has initial difficulty with reading requirements. (NOTE: May only be used during the first semester)
  • Student is unfamiliar with U.S. teaching methods. (NOTE: May only be used during the first semester.)
  • Student is placed in an improper course level.
  • Student is completing formal course work this semester and working full-time on thesis or dissertation.
  • Student has completed formal course work and working full-time on dissertation (register for “maintaining matriculation”)
  • Student has medical reason for being enrolled less than full-time.* (See note below.)

* Please note that a reduced course load for medical reasons must be approved by the International Students & Scholars Office with proper documentation by a medical professional.  Approval for medical reasons is ONLY permitted for an aggregate of 12 months during an academic program.

Documentation of the reason must be submitted to the OIPS and approved prior to the reduction of the course load.  Failure to submit this documentation on time will be consider a violation of your immigration status and must be reported to the Immigration Service.