Students in a typical classroom

F-1 Students Enrollment Requirements and RCL

All F-1 students are required to be enrolled full time during Fall and Spring semesters, except with approval for Reduced Course Load (RCL). Please see #3 below for details. Summer semester is considered a break / vacation period, so you are generally* not required to take classes even if you stay in the U.S. You may enroll part-time also if you wish.

  • *Certain programs require full-time enrollment in the summer, regardless of the break period.

Click the topics below for more details about F1 Enrollment Requirements.


Fall and Spring Semester                         

  • Undergraduate (Associates & Bachelor’s Degrees) = 12 credit hours
  • Graduate students (Masters & PhD Degrees) = 9 credit hours
  • IEP (Intensive English Program) students = 18 credit hours

Summer Semester

  • Continuing students: no enrollment required, and part-time is permitted.
  • New students: 6 credit hours required if summer is your 1st semester.
  • Change of Status: 6 credit hours required if your change of status was approved after spring semester registration closed.
  • IEP (Intensive English Program) students: 18 hours required if summer is your 1st semester. No enrollment required if you were full-time the Spring semester prior to summer.

Final Term / Graduating

  • If your final term degree requirements don't add up to full-time enrollment, you must request authorization for "Reduced Course Load" (RCL). Please see #3 below for more details.

  •  Only one on-line course (3 credit hours) may count towards full-time enrollment each semester.
  • This does not prevent you from taking additional courses in any given semester. This is sometimes referred to as “overload.” Those courses can be online or in-person, but may be subject to academic limits or requirements. Always check with your academic advisor before registering in additional / overload courses.
  • Audited courses do not count towards enrollment requirements. You may only audit a course over and beyond the minimum requirements above for credit-bearing courses.

Approval for Reduced Course Load (RCL) is possible in certain situations. RCL approval is the only way to receive an exception to full-time enrollment requirements.  All RCL's require pre-authorization by ISSS.

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

Reasons for RCL and authorization duration:

  1. Final Term (semester authorization): 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. Dissertation / Thesis (length determined by academic advisor): you have completed all courses, and you're currently working on a dissertation or thesis only.
  3. Research Abroad (semester authorization): you will be conducting research abroad that is directly related to your thesis or dissertation. NOTE: You must still be registered in at least 1 credit hour at GSU during your time abroad.
  4. Difficulty with English Language (semester authorization): you are experiencing difficulties with the English language during your 1st semester only.
  5. Improper Course Placement (1st semester authorization only): you have been placed in an improper course level in error by the university. This requires a written statement from a university official. Students cannot request this type of RCL based on their own opinions.
  6. Medical Condition (semester authorization): you have a medical condition with written documentation from a Medical Doctor (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O) or a Clinical Psychologist that recommends temporary part-time enrollment or no enrollment for a specific academic term. Pregnancy - see below. For all medical RCL's, a representative from The Access and Accommodations Center (AACE) (see below) will also review your request. *

Duration: Students must return to full-time enrollment the semester following an approved RCL. A medical RCL can be extended into the following term if necessary; however, the student must request the authorization and submit updated medical documentation in iStart.

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. .

    • Academic RCL requests are due by 5:15pm on the last day of the 1st week of class.
    • Requests for RCL are submitted via iStart
    • If you are unfamiliar with iStart, watch the "Introducing iStart" video >>

     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 Access and Accommodations Center (AACE) 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 The Access and Accommodations Center (AACE) want our students to have a positive educational experience in the USA.

For more information about the Access and Accommodations Center (AACE), click >> here .

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 access and accommodations. The Access and Accommodations Center 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 Access and Accommodations Center. click >> here