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A Division of the International Studies Office


Full-Time Enrollment is the Foundation of Your Legal Status

All F-1 students are required to pursue a full-time course of study unless specifically authorized by the ISO. Full-time status for all students is 12 credit hours per semester. Full time enrollment in summer is 6 credit hours and is required only if summer is the student's first or last semester of enrollment. 

  • F-1 international students can only count ONE online class toward their minimum number of credits as their full-time enrollment during their normal semesters. If a student needs less than full time to complete the program of study, the courses cannot be online or distance learning.


Prior Approval Required by ISO

The ISO must approve any drop below full-time prior to a reduction of course load.  Do not fall below full-time enrollment for any reason, and no matter the source of advice, before speaking to the ISO first.  This includes leaves of absences or withdrawals.  Failure to obtain prior approval from ISO, if qualified, will result in a termination of legal status.

The ISO may authorize a Reduced Course Load for the following reasons:

  • Medical Condition or Illness
  • Initial Difficulty with the English Language
  • Initial Difficulty with Reading Requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • Improper Course Level Placement
  • Fewer Courses Needed to Complete Course of Study in Final Term


Please Notify Us

  • Students studying abroad should contact the ISO before departing on a study abroad program.
  • Students who do not plan to return to UVA should contact the ISO before departing.
  • Students who plan to take a non-resident leave from UVA must contact the ISO before taking such a leave.
  • Students engaging in research abroad must contact the ISO before departing.