Reduced Course Load
Students in the US on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to carry a full program of study each semester: a minimum of 12 hours for undergraduate students and 9 hours for graduate students.
When it is necessary for students to drop below full-time for the very limited and specific reasons allowed by regulations, they must receive prior approval from the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) in Peck Hall 216. This is done by requesting a meeting and discussing your situation. If approved, the PDSO will submit your request to the SEVIS system and inform you of approval. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the PDSO will be considered out of status.
Acceptable reasons for reduced credit load include:
- Initial academic difficulties due to unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, English difficulties, or improper course level placement (one semester only).
- Undergraduate students in their final semester of study before graduation. (DSO approval, rather than PDSO approval)
- Graduate students in their final semester of course work. (DSO approval, rather than PDSO approval)
- Students who have a medical problem certified by a physician or clinical psychologist (maximum of two semesters; number of course hours determined by physician).
Suspension From School
Students who are suspended from the University for any reason, may not stay legally in the U.S. during the duration of suspension. Students who suspect that they might be suspended at the end of the academic term should check their academic status with their respective colleges before leaving the country on vacation. If they return and discover that they have been suspended, they will lose their student status, and their stay in the US will be considered illegal. To regain student status would then involve leaving the country and re-entering again with a new SEVIS I-20 when the suspension was lifted.