Rules for Maintaining a Full-Time Course of Study

Federal regulations require that students in F-1 status be registered for a full-time course of study except during their vacation period. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be subject to loss of their F-1 immigration benefits such as being eligible for both on or off campus employment.

Full-Time Course Load
Undergraduates - Minimum of 12 credit hours per quarter

Post-Graduates - Minimum of 9 credit hours per quarter

Students may only count 4.5 credit hours of distance learning courses towards the minimum full-time requirement of undergraduate or graduate studies.  This means that undergraduate students MUST take at least 8 credit hours of on-campus courses.

There are some limited exceptions to the full-time requirement including initial difficulties with the English language, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, inappropriate course placement, or having a documented medical condition that requires less than full-time attendance.  All of these exceptions require documentation and must be approved by the international advisor BEFORE a student drops to below full-time attendance.

One additional exception to the full-time requirement applies to the final term of studies before graduation (or completion of studies). A student may register for less than a full-time course load if he or she knows this will be his/her last term of attendance.  However, if the student does not graduate and was less than full-time, he/she will be in violation of immigration regulations governing F-1 students.

If you have any questions, please contact the International Learner Services Coordinator at 605-394-4923 or