International Services
Reduced Course Load

International students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required by US immigration regulations to remain enrolled full-time during Fall and Spring semesters (Undergraduate students 12 hours)(Graduate students 9 hours).

Students who do not intend to take a full course load must get prior approval from IS before registing for less than full-time hours or dropping below full-time. Students who qualify for a reduced course load should complete the Reduced Course Load Request Form.

Acceptable reasons for a reduced course load

  • Completion of Program/Final Semester of study
  • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods in the first semester of study in the USA
  • Difficulty with English language in the first semester of study in the USA
  • Improper course level placement due to Department/Advisor ERROR
  • Medical condition that restricts eligibility to attend classes and pursue full-time coursework
  • Cross Enrollment/Dual Enrollment


  • Even with the reduced course load approval, students are required to take a minimum of 6 credits at USF (except for a medical condition/ or taking final semester). 
  • Requests must be submitted by the first week of classes for the requested semester.
  • F-1 and J-1 students are advised to read all directions on the Reduced Course Load Request Form and provide the required documentation.
  • Students who engage in full-time curricular practical training (CPT) or full-time optional practical training (OPT) are not required to be registered full-time and do not need to complete the form.
  • Graduate students who have completed all course work and are registered for ONLY thesis or dissertation hours are considered full-time and do not need to complete the form.
  • In general, students authorized for a reduced course load are not eligible for on-campus employment unless the reduced course load is for completion of the degree in the final semester or the student is cross enrolled.





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