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Full Course of Study (F-1 Students)

You are required by law to register for and complete a "full course of study" each Fall and Spring semester at Boston University, in accordance with the following:

Undergraduate Degree Students
Although you have the right to register for as many classes as University policy allows, you must register for and complete at least 12 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester, and in the summer term that summer session will be your final term.  Dropping below 12 credits without prior authorization by the ISSO can be considered a violation of your F-1 status.

Graduate Degree Students
Although you have the right to register for as many classes as University policy allows, you must register for at least 12 credit hours (or the number of credits your school/college determines to be full-time status) each Fall and Spring semester, and in the summer term that summer session will be your final term.  Exceptions are made for graduate students who are assigned teaching or research responsibilities pursuant to the terms of a full Teaching Assistantship, Teaching Fellowship or Research Assistantship requiring 20 hours of work per week.  In this case, you must register and be officially certified "full-time" by your academic department.

Graduate Students Who Have Completed All Required Course Work
If a thesis or dissertation is required of your program of study and you have completed all required course work, you need only register for the number of hours of thesis or dissertation research recommended by your academic advisor.  In addition, your department must certify you "full-time" each academic semester.

Non-Degree Students
Although you have the right to register for as many classes as University policy allows, you must register for and complete at least 12 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester.  Withdrawing below 12 credits can be considered a violation of your F-1 status.  In cases of graduate-level non-degree study, less than 12 credits of study is permissible only if authorized in advance by the ISSO.

All Students

Summer Term
You do not have to register for classes during the summer unless:

  1. You will begin a new program of study or return to study after a Leave of Absence or Suspension during the Summer Term.
  2. Degree Students - If your I-20 was issued to begin in late May, you must register for at least 12 credits over the entire Summer Term.  If your I-20 was issued to begin in late June or early July, you must register for at least 8 credits.  (Graduate students may register for fewer credit hours only if they are certified "full-time" by their academic department.)

    Non-Degree Students - If your I-20 was issued for 6 weeks of study, you must register for at least 8 credits.  If your I-20 was issued for 12 weeks of study, you must register for at least 12 credits over the entire Summer Term.

  3. You will complete your program of study during the Summer Term (see Completion of Studies).

Final Semester of Program
Degree students are permitted to register for less than a full course of study in their final semester of study, so long as they will complete their program by the end of that semester (see Completion of Studies) and have advanced authorization from the ISSO.  Non-Degree students must register for at least 12 credits.  In cases of graduate-level non-degree study, less than 12 credits of study is permissible only if authorized in advance by the ISSO.

Auditing Courses: Audited ("AU") courses do not count towards the credit requirements for a full course of study.

Incomplete Courses: Incomplete ("I") courses are permissible, so long as you are eligible to continue in your program and remain enrolled for a full course of study while you make up incomplete work.  Please be advised: You must complete all work and receive a final grade for any incomplete courses by the end of your final semester of study in order to stay in status.

Missing Grade:  Recieving a grade of "MG" in any course usually indicates that you stopped attending the course and that a grade cannot be given.  Courses for which you receive an "MG" grade will not be counted toward your full-time enrollment.

 

Reduced Course Load
Only the circumstances listed below allow the possibility to engage in less than a full course of study.  However, you must request authorization in advance from an ISSO advisor in order to maintain F-1 status.  You must resume a full course of study in the semester that immediately follows your permitted period of reduced course load (unless it is your final term).

  • Initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements - (Normally available only during the first semester of study.)

  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods - (Normally available only during the first semester of study).

  • Improper course level placement

  • Illness or other medical condition - (Complete withdrawal from courses is also permitted in this case, if necessary.  See section regarding Leave of Absence.)

  • To complete program of study in final term - (If you need less than a full course load to complete your program)

 

ISSO
Boston University
January 26, 2010

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office