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International Student Enrollment Requirements

International students must be enrolled full time during the fall and spring semesters. What is considered full time? For undergraduates, a minimum of 12 credit hours is required. Graduate students must complete at least 9 credit hours each fall and spring semester unless they have a 20-hour-per-week (50 percent time) assistantship position. Students with a 20-hour-per-week assistantship must complete at least 6 credit hours each fall and spring semester.

 

Full-Time Enrollment Chart Minimum Credit Hours
Undergraduate students 12
Graduate students with assistantship of 20 hour per week assistantship (50% time) 6
Graduate students with assistantship of less than 20 hours per week 9
Graduate students with no assistantship 9

Which classes do not count as full time?

  • Classes taken for audit (AU)
  • Class taken for part of the semester and withdrawn (W)
  • More than one online course or any online course that counts for more than 3 credit hours
  • Registering for “Use of Facilities” does not meet the criteria for registration in a course of study.

Exceptions to the Full-Time Requirement

There are some cases where a student may request permission to enroll below full time. These exceptions must be approved by CGE and must be requested using the Below Full Time request process in iVols. These exceptions also require confirmation by the academic advisor before CGE can approve them.

Situations where exceptions may be approved by CGE:

  • When a graduate student has completed all course work requirements and is working only on thesis or dissertation hours, registering for 3 credit hours is sufficient for immigration purposes.
  • In the final term of a degree program, a student can register for only the number of hours required to graduate.
  • Students with a serious medical condition preventing them from enrolling full time may be approved for a reduced course load or no credit hours with a letter from a licensed medical doctor explaining the reasons. This special permission can be approved only for one semester at a time and is limited to a total of 12 months.

To request a Below Full Time exception, a student must fill out the Below Full Time Request e-form in iVols:

Screenshot of iVols portal with the Below Full Time Request outlined

Once this e-form is submitted, an email with a link to the Below Full Time Request will be automatically sent to the academic advisor.

The advisor will access the request and confirm the academic reason the student qualifies for permission to enroll below full time. Please note that for graduate students who have completed all course work requirements and are working only on thesis or dissertation hours, the Below Full Time request needs to be submitted only once. It is not necessary for those students to resubmit this form each semester.

Please contact us at international@utk.edu if you have any questions about the Below Full Time request