Reduced Credit Load

F-1 and J-1 students are required to pursue a full course of study every fall and spring semester. However, there are cases when regulations consider a student to be pursuing a full course of study even though student is not actually registered for a full-time credit load. Regulations define four broad circumstances in which F-1 or J-1 students who are registered for less than a full-time credit load are considered to be maintaining legal status by meeting the full course of study requirement. Those circumstances are:

  • Fewer than full time credit load remaining in final semester before graduation
  • Certain general academic reasons
  • Certain Rutgers-specific academic policies that define part time registration as a "full course of study"
  • Documented medical conditions necessitating reduced credits or leave of absence

Reduced Credit Load Procedure

F-1 and J-1 students must obtain approval from Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services prior to registering for less than 12 credits (undergraduates) or 9 credits (graduates) in order to meet the full course of study requirement. Requests for such approvals must be made by submitting one of the following forms to Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services, as appropriate for student’s situation: 

  • Reduced Credit/Course Load Form
    This form must be completed and signed by the academic dean (undergraduate students) or program director (graduate students).
  • Confirmation of Less Than Full Time Form
    This form is only for graduate students who have already submitted a "Reduced Credit/Course Load" form confirming they have completed all course work and are engaging in thesis/dissertation research. This does not require a graduate program director signature.

If the reason noted on these forms meets regulatory exceptions to the full-time requirement and complies with university policies, the request will be approved. Students who do not obtain prior approval before registering for or dropping below full time are automatically considered "out of status."