Office of International Services

Determining 'Full-Time' & 'Less than Full-time' Enrollment

The information on this page reflects F-1 / J-1 visa status-related policies and guidance of OIS and does not necessarily reflect the policies or requirements of other units on campus, such as the Graduate School.

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the duration of their program. Full-time enrollment is generally interpreted as 12 or more credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 or more credit hours for graduate students. There are some circumstances, however, in which fewer credit hours are considered "full-time" because of a student's progress in their degree or the remaining requirements of their program.

OIS does not determine the full-time / part-time enrollment status for international students and the standards for determining enrollment levels do not differ between domestic and international students. Instead, OIS suports the policies of the Graduate School when determining if an F-1 or J-1 student is enrolled full-time / part-time. OIS is only involved when the student is determined to be less-than-full-time based on the below process(es):

Undergraduate students:
    Enrollment below 12 credit hours is rarely considered as full-time for undergraduate students, except in their final semester. Undergraduate students must seek the guidance of their academic advisor to determine if enrollment below 12 credit hours can be considered as full-time enrollment.

Graduate Students:
  1. To determine full-time enrollment, graduate students should first refer to the enrollment policies provided by the Graduate School. Additional enrollment information may be required by students participating in the GSSP.
  2. If the charts included above do not fully answer questions regarding enrollment, graduate students should contact the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) for their academic department.
  3. If full-time enrollment is still unclear after speaking to the DGP, the student and/or DGP should contact the appropriate Graduate School liaison. The liaison can refer the question to the appropriate person in the Graduate School to assist with interpretation of the rules as they apply to specific situations. A list of liasisons and their contact information is available below.

After following the steps above, a student will have confirmation that they are a) enrolled full-time or b) enrolled less than full time:

Students Enrolled Full-time are not required to notify or take any action with OIS. OIS accepts the determination of the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs or the Office of Registration & Records (for undergraduate students) or the Graduate School (for graduate students) regarding full-time enrollment, and does not require the student to complete any paperwork in OIS.

Students Enrolled Less Than Full-time must read the requirements for Reduced Course Load (RCL). To maintain lawful F-1 status, an RCL is the only authorization available for students enrolled less than full-time. Students that have read the RCL requirements, and do not fit into any of the RCL categories should contact OIS to discuss the implications of under-enrollment.

Graduate School Liaisons:

Crystal Wilson
Phone: 919.515.1987
  College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
College of Design
College of Humanities and Social Science
Peggy Olive
Phone: 919.515.1990
  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
College of Textiles
Veterinary School
College of Natural Resources
Dare E. Cook
Phone: 919.515.1988
  College of Education
College of Management
Jennifer Beaman
Phone: 919.515.1993
  College of Engineering
Operations Research