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Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment

International students who plan to be enrolled for part-time studies must submit the Reduced Course Load form to the Global Education Office (GEO) in a timely manner. There are only a few exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement for the fall and spring semesters.

Reduced Course Load (RCL)

Each exception has its own criteria, which are outlined below.

  • The deadline for submitting the Reduced Course Load is the last day to add/drop classes for that semester and must be approved by the student’s academic adviser prior to being submitted to GEO.
  • F-1 students must meet with Vaolele Stawiarski, Associate Director of International Student Services at GEO when requesting an RCL.


F-1 students should not drop classes below full-time enrollment until they have received authorization from GEO. Students who drop below full-time enrollment without the proper authorization from GEO will be considered out of status.


Academic Difficulty RCL

Students may request an RCL due to academic difficulty only once per degree level.  Academic difficulty could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • Difficulty with English language or reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course placement


In order to maintain status, students who receive an academic difficulty RCL must resume a full course of study in the next available semester.


Medical RCL

GEO may authorize a medical RCL due to a temporary medical condition. Students must receive prior approval from GEO and must present an appropriate letter from a doctor recommending the RCL for medical reasons.

Requirements for Medical RCL:

  • Letter from a licensed physician, medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist that recommends that a student take less than the minimum units required for full-time enrollment
  • Prior approval from GEO and the academic department in question before dropping classes
  • No more than one academic year total of Medical RCL is permitted per degree level


Take note that students taking advantage of RCL must take a minimum of 6 units for undergraduate students and 4 units for Master's students per semester.

If a doctor believes that a student is unable to meet this minimum unit enrollment, then the student should consider a Leave of Absence.


Final Semester RCL

An RCL form is not required for students in their final semester of their academic program.


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