Enrollment Requirements – J1

All 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, but not graduating, you can take the summer off and remain in the U.S. lawfully. 

J-1 Exchange Students are not eligible for a Reduced Course Load authorization, if based on final term.

*Certain students must enroll  full-time in the summer, regardless of the break / vacation period. See “Required Summer Enrollment” below.

Full-Time Requirements at Georgia State University

  • Undergraduate = 12 credit hours
  • Graduate students = 9 credit hours

Online Course Limit

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

Reduced Course Load

An exception to full-time enrollment requirements is authorized in limited situations. This is known as a Reduced Course Load, or RCL and requires pre-authorization by ISSS.

  • DO NOT withdraw 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 through no fault of your own. Note: this type of RCL requires admission of error in writing by someone at the university. Students cannot simply request this type of RCL if they feel the course is too difficulty or if they are making poor grades.
  6. you have a medical condition and a Medical Doctor (M.D.) provides a written recommendation to ISSS that you be excused from classes. *

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. 

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.