Full-Time Enrollment Exceptions
Under special circumstances, you can obtain an exception to the full-time enrollment requirement.
You are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Make sure you follow instructions carefully! This is the most common area for students to make mistakes resulting in a loss of legal status.
If you are experiencing academic difficulties in your first semester, you may request approval to drop below full-time. In all cases, you must maintain at least half of the full-time requirement: 4 credits for graduate students, and 6 credits for undergraduates. Advance approval from OIA is required. Examples of academic difficulty include difficulty with English language, unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods, improper course level placement, etc.
If you have an injury or illness preventing course attendance, you may request permission to take a reduced course load or withdraw from classes completely. You may request no more than one year (aggregate) of reduced course load based on a medical exception. Certification from a U.S. licensed medical doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist, and advance approval and from OIA is required.Obtain a Medical Reduced Course Load Form»
Final Semester of Study
When you are in your final semester of degree study, this option permits you to register for only the credits necessary to complete the degree requirements. You also can use this option if you are a graduate student completing your final semester of non-research coursework, but will continue to work on a thesis, dissertation, or final project. OIA approval required.
Graduate Students with Assistantships
If you are working as an Associate Instructor, Research Assistant, or Graduate Assistant (employed by your department as a Student Academic Appointee for 15 to 20 hours a week [37.5–50% FTE]), you may enroll in 6 credit hours. If you are not sure if you meet this requirement, ask the department you are working for. OIA approval not required.
Graduate Students Conducting Research
If you have completed all required course work for your degree program, and are now working only on research for a final project, dissertation or thesis, you are only required to enroll in research credits. In this situation, a thesis, dissertation, or final project research course may be considered full-time at fewer than 8 credit hours. These full time equivalencies are determined by the Registrar. If you have no further research credits to enroll for, but are not done with your research, consult with your department on further enrollment options. In these cases where a student is enrolled in a designated full-time equivalency course, OIA approval is not required.