Maintaining Status

Full-Time Credit Requirement Governing F-1 & J-1 Status

F-1 and J-1 student immigration status require full time enrollment each semester of study. Full time enrollment, in all of its forms, ensures that students will make the progress they need to complete their studies by the end date listed on the immigration document, as required by Federal immigration regulations.

Students who are not full-time by the end of the add/drop period violate their international students status. We are committed to working closely with departments, students and the Registrar to make sure that all students enroll in a full course load each term.

If you know students have a hold on their registration, if they are working on adding into a class, if they are struggling with financial issues that make registration impossible or if they have personal issues and are asking to take less than a full time course load, please let us know.

Please note the following: 

  • Audited classes do not count towards the calculation of full-time status; 
  • Pass-fail classes count towards the calculation of full-time status; 
  • There are special regulations governing enrollment in online coursework. Please see here for additional information. 

Undergraduate Students

The U.S. Government requires that undergraduate students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits each semester, fall and spring.  We realize that to complete their studies within 4 years, Georgetown undergrads will be required to take additional credits during the semester or over the summer.  However, we rely heavily on the guidance these students are given by undergraduate deans and academic advisors who are monitoring their progress toward degree. 

Graduate Students

For graduate students, the full time enrollment requirement depends on the program’s structure and the normative credit progression on file with the Graduate School.  For example, the M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a two semester program requiring 15 credits per term.  In contrast, the M.A. in Arab studies is a two year program, requiring only 9 credits each semester.  Doctoral students who  have been admitted to candidacy are full time at zero credits as long as they are enrolled in dissertation research. 

Students are not allowed to drop below the normative credit load on file with the Graduate School and the Office of Global Services without prior authorization in their immigration record. 

Non-Degree Programs

For those who run non-degree/credit bearing programs, the students must take the courseload associate with the level of education.  For example:  Fellows in Foreign Service are required to take 9 credits per semester at the graduate level and post-bac premed students are required to take 12 credits per term.

For those who run non-degree/non-credit programs, there is a minimum requirement of 18 classroom hours or clock hours. 

Please contact an IS advisor with any questions or concerns regarding full-time enrollment requirements.