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.

Reduced Course Load

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.