As an F-1 student, you are required to be registered full-time each fall and spring semester (or session if you are a TCALC student) to maintain your status. The only exception to this rule is if you are eligible for a reduced course load as designated by USCIS regulations.
At Temple University, Undergraduate students are considered full-time when they are registered for a minimum of twelve credits.
Graduate students are considered full-time when they are registered for nine credits or a full-time equivalency courseload. There are times when a student can be registered for fewer than the required number of credits and still be considered to be maintaining her/his status both academically and for immigration purposes. In these cases, for academic and immigration purposes, an international student is considered full-time despite the fact that they are registered for less than full-time credits.
Full Time Equivalency: In the Following Cases, International Students are Automatically Considered Full Time for Immigration Purposes:
- Graduate student holds full-time Assistantship/Externship: To be designated full-time, a graduate student who holds an Assistantship that requires at least 20 hours of service per week must be enrolled in 6 credits during the fall and spring semesters.
- Graduate student is at the thesis or dissertation research/writing stage. The student must be registered for a minimum of 1 credit. See the course list for those courses that meet this criteria.
- Graduate student is in the final semester of his/her coursework and will advance to research stage next semester. Student must be in compliance with the Graduate School's "Full-time Policy."
- Graduate student has completed all coursework and is preparing for comps/prelims which student MUST pass before moving forward in degree program. Student must be in compliance with the Graduate School's "Full-time Policy."
If this office cannot easily determine that a student meets one of these criteria, we will contact you and ask you to have your Academic Advisor complete the "Reduced Course Load" form.
If you are registered part-time for an upcoming fall or spring semester and none of the above criteria apply, you must submit the request for a reduced course load .
If you are currently registered full-time in a fall or spring semester and you wish to withdraw a course that would leave you part-time, you must have the reduced course load approved by our office before withdrawing from the course.
An international student may be authorized for a reduced course load only if s/he meets one of the criteria described below:
- Student is in the first semester of a degree program in the United States and needs time to adjust to the American classroom, the English language or intensive reading requirements. Student must remain registered for a minimum of six credit hours in these circumstances;
- Student has been improperly advised, for which the academic advisor must write a letter explaining how the department incorrectly advised the student regarding her/his registration;
- Student has a medical condition that prohibits a full time course load, a condition which must be accompanied by medical documentation;
- Student is completing final course requirements towards his/her degree that semester. Student may register for the amount of credits left to complete degree even if it is less than full-time. Note: If your final course(s) will be during a summer session, you must remain registered full-time in the prior spring semester.
Students in these situations must have their academic advisors complete and submit to this office the "Request for a Reduced Course Load" form. Such students are required to be registered full-time before they apply for a reduced course load. Submission of the form does NOT guarantee approval of the request.
Please note that financial restrictions are not a valid reason for part-time status. If you are experiencing a financial need due to unforeseen circumstances, you may be eligible for "Employment due to urgent, unforeseen circumstances" (this is a type of employment authorization that allows you to work anywhere off campus). Working may alleviate your financial strain but you will still be required to be a full-time student.