Online courses have become increasingly popular, and many colleges and universities are quickly expanding their online and distance education course offerings. However, U.S. federal regulations restrict F-1 and J-1 enrollment in online courses during academic terms. Students should consult with their dedicated IS Advisor regarding online or hybrid courses.

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).

Regulation of F-1 enrollment in online courses:

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.

Georgetown's implementation of this regulation:

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. 

  • F-1 students may take one (three credit) online course as part of their normative full-time courseload.
    • F-1 students may take online courses over and above their full-time credit requirement.
  • An online course cannot be a student's only course in the final semester of study.
    • In other words, students approved for a part-time final semester must take at least one 'traditional' course with regular in-person meetings for the entire duration of the term.
  • Summer enrollment is subject to the online course restrictions if summer is a required term (or is the first or last semester) of a student's academic program.
    • Student's for whom summer is not a required term may enroll in summer online courses (as permitted by their academic program).
    • Students in non-degree summer programs may not enroll in any online courses as part of their full-time study.

For more information, please contact your dedicated IS Advisor.