Enrollment Requirements

All F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled full time during the academic year:  Fall and Spring semesters.  During Summer semester, international students are generally* not required to take classes because it’s considered a break / vacation period. If you will be studying during the Fall semester but not graduating, you can take the summer off and remain in the U.S. lawfully. 

*However: certain students must enroll  full-time in the summer. See below: “Required Summer Enrollment”

Full-Time Requirements at Georgia State University

  • Undergraduate = 12 credit hours
  • Graduate students = 9 credit hours
  • IEP (Intensive English Program) students  = 18 credit hours

Online Course Limit

  • Only one on-line class (3 credit hours) may count towards full-time enrollment.

Reduced Course Load

In limited situations, you may be eligible for an exception to full-time enrollment requirements, which requires pre-authorization by ISSS. This is known as a Reduced Course Load, or RCL.
DO NOT withdraw from a course without speaking to your international advisor first, even if you are failing the course.

RCL may be authorized if:

  • You are in your final term, you need less than a full course load to complete your program, and the class(es) left are required for degree/program completion.
  • You have completed all your course work and are currently working on a dissertation or thesis.
  • You will be conducting research abroad that is directly related to your thesis or dissertation. (NOTE: You must still be registered in at least one credit hour at GSU during your time abroad).
  • You are experiencing difficulties with the English language during your first semester only.
  • You have been placed in an improper course level.
  • You have a medical condition, a Medical Doctor (M.D.) provides written recommendation that you be excused from classes. *

*If you experience health problems, please contact ISSS as soon as possible to discuss this further.  In addition, you will need to provide our office with appropriate documentation from your physician. 

PREGNANCY : a normal pregnancy or delivery is NOT considered a medical condition eligible for an RCL, unless there are medical complications outside of a normal pregnancy/delivery. In that case, ISSS may authorize medical RCL on a case-by-case basis.  Contact ISSS if you have any questions. 

How To Request a Reduced Course Load (RCL)

  • If you meet one of the requirements above, you can request an RCL via iStart
  • If you are unfamiliar with iStart, watch the “Introducing iStart” video >> here.

Required Summer Enrollment:

You must study full time during the summer at Georgia State if one of the following is true:

  • You have been admitted, and you will begin your degree program during the summer semester.
  • You applied for a change of status, and it was approved after spring semester registration closed.
  •  Note: Full time in the summer means at least 6 credit hours.