For F-1 visa holding international students, online course eligibility is extremely limited while the individual is inside the U.S. Online degree programs are not compatible with the F-1 visa, and for students pursuing regular degrees, online course permission is extremely limited.
Undergrads: For undergraduates inside the U.S. on an F-1 student visa or holding F-1 visa status, a minimum of 12 credit hours of enrollment is required in all regular semesters, with 9 of those credit hours required to be on campus, in the classroom. Students taking overloads in any Spring or Fall semester still must have 9 credit hours on campus, in the classroom, but may take all other courses online.
Graduate: For grad students, a minimum of 9 credit hours of enrollment is required in all regular
semesters, with 6 of those credit hours required to be on campus, in the classroom.
Students taking overloads in a Spring or Fall semester still must have 6 credit hours
on campus, in the classroom, but may take all other courses online.
Intensive English for Internationals: For students who are solely pursuing the Intensive English for Internationals program, no online classes may count towards minimum enrollment requirements.
Note that these are not University rules but are instead U.S. Federal Regulations. Please see below the relevant federal regulation under 8 CFR 21
- (G) For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission, including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student's course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student's full course of study requirement. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
Students that are in the United States on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to attend classes full-time each semester. If it is necessary for the student to drop below full-time hours, they must complete a Request Authorization for Reduced Course Load form. Any student that drops below full-time without prior approval will be considered out of status. Please see the full-time hour requirements below.
|Level of Education||Credit Hours Required for Full-Time Students|
|Undergraduate||12 credit hours|
|Graduate||9 credit hours|
Immigration Regulations allow certain reasons for students to take a reduced course load:
- Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
- Temporary illness or medical condition
- During the final term, semester or session, if fewer courses are needed to complete the course of study.
- Graduate students who have reached the dissertation-only, thesis-only, or final-project only/capstone project phase of studies. All previous classes must be complete before students are allowed to take a reduced course load.
You should contact the ISS Office if:
- You have a medical issue and have obtained a doctor's note that suggests withdrawal from classes.
- You have any academic difficulty requiring course deletion.
Reminder: You should not remain in classes beyond the completion of your program.