Enrollment Requirements – F1

All F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled full time during Fall and Spring semesters.  During Summer semester, you are generally* not required to take classes since Summer is considered a break / vacation period. If you will be enrolled Spring semester after Summer, you can take the summer off and remain in the U.S. lawfully. 

*Certain programs require full-time enrollment in the summer, regardless of the break period. See “Required Summer Enrollment” below.

Click on the topics below to review other details and information about F1 Enrollment Requirements.

1. Full-Time Enrollment Requirements

  • Undergraduate = 12 credit hours
  • Graduate students = 9 credit hours
  • IEP (Intensive English Program) students  = 18 credit hours
2. Online Course Limit

  • Only one on-line class (3 credit hours) may count towards full-time enrollment each semester.
3. Reduced Course Load

An exception to full-time enrollment requirements is authorized in limited situations. This is known as a Reduced Course Load (RCL) and requires pre-authorization by ISSS with review by the Office of Disability Services for Medical RCL requests.

  • DO NOT withdraw from courses without immigration advisement first, even if you are failing.

RCL may be authorized if:

  1. you are in your final term, and less than a full course load is required to complete your program, and the class(es) left are required for degree/program completion.
  2. you have completed all your course work and are currently working on a dissertation or thesis.
  3. 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).
  4. you are experiencing difficulties with the English language during your first semester only.
  5. you have been placed in an improper course level. Note: This type of RCL requires admission of error in writing by someone at the university. Students cannot simply request this type of RCL based on personal feelings or poor performance in a course.
  6. you have a condition with written documentation from a Medical Doctor (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O) or a Clinical Psychologist that recommends this type of RCL. The recommendation can be for part-time enrollment or no enrollment. For Medical RCL, a representative from the Office of Disability Services (see below) will also review your request. *

Note: An RCL is approved for only 1 semester. Students must return to full-time enrollment the semester following an approved RCL, except in the case of a Medical RCL, which requires new documentation each semester.

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. .

4. How To Request a Reduced Course Load

  • 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.
5. Office of Disability Services

ISSS strives to make Georgia State University a welcoming, supportive and accessible campus for students with disabilities, and other debilitating conditions. ISSS has partnered with the Margaret A. Staton Office of Disability Services here on campus to help enable all students with any kind of disability to reach their goals. The Disability Services staff works diligently with students to provide accommodation services and programs to assist students. Together, ISSS and Disability Services want our students to have a positive educational experience in the USA.

For more information about the Margaret A. State Office of Disability Services, click >> here .

6. The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that no qualified individual with a disability can be denied access or participation in services, programs, and activities at Georgia State University. This act applies to all aspects of campus activities, employment, student programming, and services provided to the whole community.

At Georgia State University, international students and domestic students receive access to the same services and resources to support disabilities. The Margaret A. Staton Office of Disability Services serves students with:

  • physical
  • learning
  • sensory
  • psychological

disabilities that substantially alter a major life activity. Examples of major life activities include, but are not limited to:

  • walking
  • communicating
  • thinking and learning
  • seeing.

It is important to note that many students have non-visible disabilities such as diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, depression, and other conditions.

For more information about ADA, please contact the Office of Disability Services. click >> here  

7. 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.