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Reduced Course Load

Immigration regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to maintain full-time (FT) enrollment each academic term:

  • Undergraduate - 12 credits
  • Graduate - 9 credits, and
  • Graduate with assistantship - 6 graduate credits.
Students who need to drop below full-time must obtain prior approval from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Reduced Course Load (RCL) applications should be submitted before the Add/Drop deadline each semester. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for relevant dates. Note: students on post-completion optional practical training (OPT) or post-completion academic training (AT) do not have to be enrolled full-time to maintain their status therefore are not required to submit this form.

Students should be enrolled in classes before requesting a reduced course load unless the request is for a medical reason. MyNEVADA will not let you drop below FT enrollment during the academic year (spring and fall semesters) without prior approval from the OISS. Only an OISS advisor has authority to approve a reduced course load for F-1/J-1 students. You will be informed of approval or denial of the application by email.

Online/Distance education classes

  • Up to 3 credits of online/distance education classes will count toward your FT enrollment (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)).
    • You may enroll in more than 3 credits of online/distance education classes but only 3 credits will count toward the FT requirements.
      • For example, if you are enrolled in 15 credits as an undergraduate student, only 3 of those credits can be online/distance education.
  • You cannot be enrolled in only online/distance education classes during your last semester.
  • A course is considered "online" or "distance education" if it does not require a student's physical attendance in a classroom for classes, exams or "other purposes integral to completion of the class." These courses include those offered "principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission, including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing."

Please allow 2 to 5 business days for your request to be processed if your reason does not require you having an appointment with an OISS advisor. During peak times, it may take more than 5 business days.

Graduate Assistantship

  • Students with a GA must be enrolled in at least 6 graduate credits to be considered FT.
    • An international student reduced course load DOES NOT waive the 6 graduate credits requirement.
  • If you are enrolled in more than 6 graduate credits and need to drop your class(es), DO NOT submit the reduced course load application.

Financial Aid

Login to submit the Request Authorization for Reduced Course Load.

Acceptable Reasons for a Reduced Course Load

(F-1: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii); J-1: 22 CFR 62.23(e))

  • Medical Condition*
    • Requires an appointment with an OISS advisor.
    • You will need to provide a letter of confirmation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist specifying the requested semester for the RCL, minimum number of credits they recommend you enroll in and that you will continue to get treatment during the requested semester. The letter must be on official letterhead and signed and dated by the doctor.
      • The letter should not include your diagnosis for privacy purposes.
      • If it is recommended that you do not enroll in classes, you will not have University insurance coverage and may not be eligible for treatment from campus services since you will not be enrolled.
      • Talk to an OISS advisor about how this could affect your immigration status.
    • A medical excuse for a RCL cannot exceed a maximum total aggregate of 12 months per academic level and is valid for 1 semester at a time.
    • If you will be taking a semester off, we recommend submitting a Leave of Absence Request to Admissions and Records (for undergraduate students) or a Leave of Absence form to the Graduate School (for graduate students) before the last day to add classes for the requested semester.
      • If the leave of absence is approved by Admissions and Records or the Graduate School, it will keep your MyNEVADA record active and you will not have to reapply when you return at the end of your requested leave period.
  • Last Semester - Students must be enrolled when they submit this application.
    • Students who are on their last semester and will graduate in the semester the RCL is requested for: 
      • Students must apply for graduation before submitting the RCL form; 
      • Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit;
      • Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 graduate credits unless otherwise authorized; 
      • If you have any type of assistantship, Graduate School requires that you be enrolled in at least 6 credits to maintain your assistantship (even if it is your last semester);
      • Check the end date on your I-20/DS-2019. If the end date on your I-20/DS-2019 is past the end date of the semester you have applied to graduate in, a new I-20/DS-2019 will be issued with the end date shortened upon approval of your RCL application.
        • If you do not graduate, you must request an extension before the I-20/DS-2019 end date if you will continue your studies.
  • Completed all coursework and enrolled in 6 thesis or dissertation credits.
    • Must be enrolled in only 6 thesis or 6 dissertation credits.
  • Academic Difficulty* (difficulty with reading, difficulty with English,unfamiliarity with American teaching methods) - Students must be enrolled FT when they submit this application.
    • Requires an appointment with an OISS advisor.
    • Students may only use a Reduced Course load for Academic Difficulty in their FIRST semester per education level, if you qualify.
    • Students should not select this reason before attending the class they wish to drop.
    • This reason may be approved by your program Academic Advisor or Professor(s) for the course(s) being dropped. The Advisor or Professor(s) should explain the reason for the difficulties or improper course placement.
    • If approved, must be enrolled in at least 6 credits.
  • Concurrent Enrollment
    • Your Academic Advisor must confirm that you will be enrolled FT by enrolling at another institution and the course(s) you are enrolled in at the other institution will be transferred to UNR at the end of the semester.
    • You must submit a class schedule from UNR and the other institution(s) with your name, the name of the institution, mode of delivery (in-person or web), and the number of credits for each course.
    • You must be enrolled in at least 3 in-person credits at UNR. It is your responsibility to make sure your credits are transferred to UNR after each semester.
      • Only 3 credits of online/distance class enrollment will count toward your FT enrollment.
      • If you do not transfer your credits to UNR at the end of the semester to show FT enrollment, you will be ineligible for concurrent enrollment in the future.

* If you select Medical Condition or any of the reasons under Academic Difficulty, please make an appointment with an OISS advisor after securing the necessary documents. If the RCL is approved, a new I-20 will be issued for F-1 students.