Minimum Credit Requirements

Maintaining your status requires a minimum course load. Dropping below course load requirements without authorization will result in a student being out-of-status.

ESL - 6 credits per session
Undergraduate - 12 credits
Graduate - 9 credits

In addition to a minimum credit load, F-1 visa holders are also limited in the amount of online credits that can be taken each semester. During spring and summer semesters, students may only have 3 online credits (Typically one class) that can be used for their 12 credit minimum; once above 12 credits, students may take more than 3 online credits.

Each student record will be checked the day after the add/drop deadline for the semester, if a student is below the minimum required credit load, and there is no record of an authorized drop, then the student’s I-20 will be terminated for failure to maintain status. Information on adding/dropping classes can be found on the Registrar’s website: Adding/Dropping Classes

Students may drop below 12 credits if one of the following conditions is met:

  • It is your final semester, and you have fewer than 12 credits remaining to complete your degree. This option requires meeting with your Academic Advisor to ensure you are on track to graduate.
  • Academic difficulty:
    • Improper course level placement
    • Initial difficulty with English language requirements
    • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods
      • May be used once per degree level.
      • Student must maintain half-time enrollment during the semester of reduced course load
  • Medical:
    • Limited to 12 months of reduced course load per degree level.
    • Requires supporting documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or clinical psychologist. The letter does not need to state the specific medical condition, but it must indicate that the condition requires less than full-time enrollment.
Reduced Course Load Request - Complete this form and schedule an appointment with a Designated School Official.

Students may also withdraw from an entire semester, or apply to take a future semester off as a vacation period by submitting a Leave of Absence/Authorized Early Withdrawal request. If approved, a student is required to be outside of the United States.

Credit requirements are only in-place for spring and fall semesters. During recognized vacation periods, students are okay to drop below minimum requirements, and online restrictions are also lifted.


International Student & Scholar Services