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International Students & Scholars

Reduced Course Load (RCL)

Although full-time enrollment is required every fall and spring semester, the following are exceptions approved by the Department of Homeland Security to deviate from full-time enrollment.

  • It is your last semester before you graduate and you have less than 12 (UG) or 9 (GR) credits left to finish your degree.
  • It is your first semester in the U.S., and you are experiencing difficulties with U.S teaching methods or reading requirements.
  • You have a medical condition preventing you from being a full-time student (medical note is required).
  • You are a graduate student and your program offers special curriculum, which provide full-time equivalency (FTE) (details on Deviation Form, part B)
  • You are working on your thesis or dissertation

If you have any other reason, please speak to an ISS International Student Advisor (ISA).


Instructions for proceeding with RCL

  • Discuss your part-time enrollment with an academic advisor
  • Discuss RCL approval with an International Student Advisor
  • Download Deviation Form
  • Obtain a signature from your academic advisor, if your reason for RCL is based on academic circumstances, as listed above
  • If you request to be a part-time student because of a medical condition, you must bring a note from a licensed medical doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist. The note must state that reduced course load (or zero course load) is recommended for you for a given semester due to a temporary illness or medical condition. Only twelve months of medical leave is allowed, and we can only authorize this type of RCL for one semester at a time.
  • An International Student Advisor will review your deviation form or medical letter submitted. If it warrants an approval, it will be processed through SEVIS, which will allow you to maintain your F-1/J-1 status although under-enrolled.