International students on an F or J visa must be enrolled full time in order to maintain valid immigration status. In general, undergraduate student must be enrolled for 12 credit hours and graduate students must be enrolled in 9 credit hours. F-1 students can count 3 credit hours of online coursework towards their total. J-1 students cannot count any online course work towards their total.
|Full-Time Enrollment Chart||Minimum Credit Hours|
|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|
Note, some courses do not count towards F and J enrollment totals despite having credit hours attached. These include:
- Classes taken for audit (AU);
- Class taken for part of the semester and withdrawn (W);
- Registering for “Use of Facilities” does not meet the criteria for registration in a course of study.
Exceptions to the Enrollment Requirement
There are several limited exceptions to the enrollment requirement. These are part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and most require approval through International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).
- Students who have maintained valid status in the spring semester and will return in the fall semester are not required by immigration to enroll in summer classes. This does not require approval through ISSS.
- Students who have completed the coursework component of their Masters or Doctoral program are only required to register for research hours. This requires approval through ISSS. Students must submit an e-form through the iVols portal and have this approved by their faculty advisor.
- Students in their final semester are only required to take the necessary credits to graduate. This requires approval through ISSS. Students must submit an e-form through the iVols portal and have this approved by their faculty or academic advisor. Note, at least one in-person credit hour is still required.
- Students dealing with a medical issue or emergency (physical or mental) can be authorized to drop below full-time enrollment. The student must book an appointment with their immigration advisor to review the approval process.
We have detailed information on specific regulatory questions and UT processes at Understanding Enrollment Requirements for International Students.