Online courses have become increasingly popular, and many colleges and universities are quickly expanding their online and distance course offerings. However, U.S. federal regulations limit the number of online courses that F-1 students can count towards a full-time courseload during a required term.*

J-1 students are restricted from taking any online courses as part of their normative full-time courseload. Students who wish to take an online course over and above their full-time requirement must receive approval from the Office of Global Servies (OGS).

*Before enrolling in online, distance or hybrid education courses, please consult with your dedicated IS Advisor.

What the Federal Regulations Say:

Authority cite: 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)

(G) For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted if taken online or through distance education in a course that does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to the completion of the class. an online or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student's course of study is in a language study program, no online or distance learning classes may be considered to count toward classroom credit.

What does this mean?

An F-1 student is limited to only one online or distance education course that can be counted towards a full-time courseload. Once having met the full-time requirement, a student may add as many distance education or online courses as he or she wishes. 

Please see below for clarification of this policy: 

  • Students who begin or end their program of study in the summer term are subject to the policy above. 
  • Students in their final semester of study who have less than a full-time course load left to complete their program cannot take any online or distance education courses. 
  • During an official summer break, students may take as many online or distance education courses from Georgetown University or another institution (with approval from the Registrar) as they wish. 
  • Students attending Georgetown only for summer non-degree programs are not permitted to enroll in any online classes.

For more information, please contact your dedicated IS Advisor.