Enrollment Requirements

F-1 students must abide by strict enrollment guidelines in order to maintain their lawful status. The following section describes the specific enrollment requirements of F-1 students:

  • In your initial semester of study and every semester thereafter, except for vacations, you must be enrolled full-time. There are some exceptions to this rule (see Reducing Your Course Load section for more details).
  • If you are not registered full-time by the drop/add deadline, your SEVIS record will be terminated.
  • The table below lists the minimum enrollment for UD students:
Undergraduate students 12 credit hours
Graduate students (including those studying in the International Marian Research Institute STL and STD programs) 6 credits (exceptions: 9 credits for Psychology CLP, EXP, PSY majors; 12 credits for Law J.D.)
IEP students You will be registered for a full course load as required by IEP

Actions that may reduce the number of credits that can be counted toward the full-time minimum:

  • Courses that you visit or audit do not count towards full-time enrollment for immigration purposes.
  • Dropping a course reduces your total credit count and therefore could put in jeopardy of
    violating the full course of study requirement.
  • Only a maximum of 3 credit hours of online/distance learning courses may be counted toward the full-time requirement. In your final term, an online/distance learning course cannot be the only class. Students sponsored by their governments may face additional restrictions. If you are sponsored by your government, consult with your embassy before registering for online courses.

Special note on online/distance learning courses: A maximum of 3 credit hours of online/distance learning classes per semester may be counted toward the full course of study requirement. An online or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of an electronic medium. If the F-1 student's course of study is in a language study program, no online or distance education classes may be considered to count toward classroom hours or credit. Example: An undergraduate student takes 6 credits of traditional courses and 6 credits of online/distance education courses. In this example, only 9 credits (6 credits of traditional classes + 3 credits of online/distance education course) may be counted toward the full course of study. Subsequently, the student is considered less than full time, a violation of the full course of study requirement and cause for termination.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I fail a course, will I be considered below the the full-time minimum?

No. It is necessary to distinguish between the meanings of “failing” and “dropping”. Failing means receive a failing grade. Dropping means to forcibly remove a course from your registration record. Failing a course will not take you below the full-time minimum. Dropping a course may potentially take you below the full-time minimum and cause your SEVIS record to be terminated.

The only classes I have left are spread out over several terms. Can I register just for those classes only?

If the only academic requirements you have left are spread out over two terms, for example, you must register for additional courses to bring you up to the full-time requirement. For example, if you are an undergraduate left with two courses, MTH 401 and ART 402, but one course is only available in the Fall and the other only available in the Spring, you could do the following:

Fall Spring
MTH 401 (3 credits) ART 402
XXX 101 (3 credits)
XXX 202 (3 credits)
XXX 303 (3 credits)

Note: the information above is for illustration purposes only.

In this example, the student is left with one class in the final term (your final class cannot be an online/distance education course; if it is, you must supplement that course with a traditional course).

When is the annual vacation?

Students are not required to register for classes in the summer (exception: the student’s I-20 lists a summer start date). F-1 students are considered to be maintaining status even though they are not actually registered for classes. Students electing to take classes will not be subject to the full-time minimum.

Contact the CIP

Center for International Programs

Rike Center 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 

937-229-3514