Full-time Study and Reduced Course Load
F-1 student visa regulations require F-1 students to study full-time each term. ‘Full-time’ means 12 credits per term for undergraduate students and 9 credits per term for graduate students. Exceptions to the full-time requirement must be approved by an international student advisor except where noted. You can request permission to take a reduced course load of less than 12 undergraduate or 9 graduate credits by filling out a reduced course load form at the beginning of the term. You must be enrolled for a full course load unless your reduced course load request has been approved by an international student advisor.
Reduced course load authorizations may be granted in the following circumstances:
- Initial academic difficulties (first year students only and granted a maximum of one time)
- Final term of study if a full course load is not needed to complete degree requirements
- Concurrent enrollment (taking classes at Lane Community College or another school in addition to UO classes)
- Thesis or dissertation (requires enrollment for a minimum of 3 credits of thesis / dissertation) following completion of course work requirements
- Medical leave
- Vacation term other than summer term
- Temporary leave of absence
If you require a reduced course load due to an illness or medical condition, please read this Medical RCL Guide.
Online Credit Limits
F-1 visa regulations limit the number of online classes that can be counted toward full-time study. An online course is defined as a course that is offered through electronic means and does not require your physical attendance for lectures, examinations or other purposes integral to completion of the class. However, courses that are labeled ‘online’ but still require your physical attendance for labs, lecture groups, examinations or other class requirements are considered "hybrid" courses and are not included in the online credits limitation.
The online credits limitation means that no more than one online class per term can be counted toward full-time status (12 credits for undergraduate students; 9 credits for graduate students). You can take additional online classes above 12 undergraduate or 9 graduate credits.
Since most online classes are 4 credits, this would require an additional 8 lecture credits for undergraduate students or 5 lecture credits for graduate students.
In addition, you may not take only online classes in your final term of study at the UO; your final term must include at least one lecture class.
Extending Your I-20
If you need more time to complete the requirements for your degree, you must request an I-20 extension at least ten days BEFORE your I-20 current expires. Extensions may be granted if you have valid academic or medical reasons for needing more time. Examples of valid reasons are: delay in graduation due to initial academic difficulties / language training, a change of major, or problems with your thesis or dissertation research. In order to request an extension, you must download the I-20 Extension Request Form and submit it to the Office of International Affairs before your I-20 expires.
Making Normal Academic Progress
F-1 students are required to make normal academic progress toward degree completion. Normal progress means taking and completing a full-time course load of least 12 undergraduate credits (or 9 graduate credits) each term and maintaining a satisfactory grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher each term. Note that classes that receive a “Y” grade do not count toward full-time status.
Students who fail to make normal progress may be found ineligible for F-1 benefits such as travel signatures or I-20 extensions, and may be required to apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for reinstatement to F-1 status. In addition, such students may be placed on academic warning or probation, and eventually be disqualified from the UO. Students who are disqualified are no longer eligible to continue studying at the UO. If this happens to you, your F-1 status will be terminated and you may need to leave the country. Speak to an international student advisor if you are having problems making normal progress toward degree completion and/or have been disqualified from the UO.