An F-1 student may be authorized for a reduced course load once per program level. There are three situations where a reduced course load may be authorized: academic difficulties, medical conditions, and completion of course of study. 

A reduced course load for undergraduate students is anything under 12 credit hours. A reduced course load for graduate students is anything under 8 credit hours. 

If a reduced course load is authorized, students must enroll in at least half of the credit hours considered to be full time, except for a medical condition. 

A reduced course load may be authorized under the following conditions:
Academic Difficulties 

A reduced course load can be authorized once per level due to 

  • Initial difficult with English 
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods 
  • Improper course level placement 
Medical Conditions 

A reduced course load can be authorized for medical conditions each session and for a total of 12 months at the same program level:

  • Students must provide medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or a licensed clinical psychologist 
  • Student must provide current medical documentation each session.
  • A reduced course load must be approved by the P/DSO each session. 
  • A student may not exceed 12 months of RCL per program level. 
Completion of Course of Study 

A reduced course load can be authorized for completion of course of study if:

  • The student is in the final session of their program and fewer courses than the traditional full course of study are needed for completion. 

In order to request a reduced course load, please contact the International Programs Office at 906-227-2510 or email us at