Study Requirements for F-1/J-1 Students

In order to maintain your F-1/J-1 visa status, you must
  • study on a full time basis toward your program
  • make normal progress toward completing your degree by finishing your program by the program end date listed on your Form I-20/DS-2019.
How many credits must I register for each semester?
Bachelor’s: 12 credits LLM/SJD: 9 credits
Master’s/PhD:  9 credits (without an assistantship) JD: 12 credits
 6 credits (with an assistantship) UCAELI: 22 hours/week
Exchange/non-degree:  12 credits (Bachelor’s), 9 credits (Master’s/PhD)

Reduced Course Load for Last Semester

Reduced Course Load for Last Semester:

You may take a reduced course load if you are in your final semester of study and you need less than full time registration to complete your degree requirements. Students who will complete their degree during summer term are not eligible to take a reduced course load during spring semester.  ISSS will adjust your Form I-20/DS-2019 program end date to the expected date of degree completion indicated by your advisor on this form. You will be required to complete all requirements for your degree by the date on your new Form I-20/DS-2019.

How to apply: Submit the Reduced Course Load application, completed by you and your academic advisor, to ISSS by the 1st day of the semester in which you are completing. It is ok to enroll for only those courses you need, before getting a new I-20 from ISSS. Your RCL must be approved by ISSS by the 10th day of the semester in which you are completing.

Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty

Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty:

All students must attempt a full time course load before requesting a Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty. Applications to take a Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty will be accepted starting the Monday of the second week of classes. You must enroll full time and attend all classes during the first week of classes, and until you have otherwise received a new I-20 from ISSS granting authorization to drop below full time. ISSS may authorize you to take a reduced course load if you are having academic difficulty in one or more courses related to your initial adjustment to English language, U.S. teaching methods, or reading requirements, or improper course level placement. In general, you must be in your first academic year of your program to qualify for a Reduced Course Load for these reasons. Some exceptions apply. You may only have a reduced course load for academic difficulty one time per program level (i.e. Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.) Changing schools or changing majors does not make you eligible for a new period of reduced course load. If you are authorized to take a Reduced Course Load for academic difficulty, you must maintain at least half-time enrollment, and you must resume full time study in the next available semester.

How to apply: Enroll and attend courses on a full time basis. If you are experiencing difficulties keeping up with the full course load, visit ISSS during walk-in advising hours, and be prepared to talk about why you are having academic difficulties this semester, and which courses you would like to drop in order to meet your academic goals. If we feel your situation qualifies, we will complete the Reduced Course Load application form with you, and intake your application for processing. We will issue a new Form I-20 within one week, which authorizes you to drop below full time. You must wait to get the new Form I-20 before withdrawing below full time status. Remember that you must also meet the University deadlines for dropping a course, and follow academic procedures with your academic advisor, after receiving authorization from ISSS.

Reduced Course Load for Illness or Medical Condition

Reduced Course Load for Illness or Medical Condition:

International students who have an illness or medical condition (physical and mental health) may be given permission to drop below full time.  To qualify, your condition must be confirmed in writing by a licensed medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), or licensed clinical psychologist (including Phd or Psy.D). If your medical documentation does not meet the above criteria, you may not qualify to drop below full time. If approved, you may drop to as few as zero credits. Students are restricted to 12 months cumulative of authorized reduced course load for illness or medical conditions per degree level.

How to apply: Visit ISSS during walk-in advising hours, or by appointment with your international advisor, and bring your medical documentation. If approved, ISSS will complete the Reduced Course Load application form with you, and within one week, issue a new Form I-20 with your medical reduced course load approval. The deadline to apply is flexible, but when medically possible, you must apply before you stop attending classes. Remember that you must also follow University procedures for dropping a course, and follow academic procedures with your academic advisor, after receiving authorization from ISSS.

Study Tips for International Students

Study Tips for International Students

  1. Office Hours – Take advantage of your professor’s office hours if you have questions about the course. If you are struggling, visit your professor multiple times during office hours. Bring your homework, bring your exams, and be ready to discuss your challenges with the course.  If you got the answer wrong on a test, and you cannot understand why, ask your professor.  Ask what you can do differently when studying.  Ask how/what to study going forward. If you cannot attend during office hours email your professor and ask for a special appointment or email your professor with your questions or concerns.
  2. Record Lectures – Ask your professor if you can record the lecture so that you can listen to the class as you review your notes.
  3. Study Group – Look for students in your class studying together and ask to join. Ask your professor to recommend a study group.  Invite the people who sit next to you to create a study group with you. Studying with friends WILL help you to perform better in class.
  4. Start Early – If you know what courses you will be taking next semester, ask the professor if you can have a copy of the syllabus. If you have time during the break, it may be helpful for you to start some of the reading before the class begins to get a better understanding of the material at your own pace.
  5. Use the University’s Academic Resources – UConn provides many on-campus resources to help UConn student succeed academically. Visit On Campus Resources to learn about further academic resources at your campus.