Full Course of Study Requirements and Exceptions

F-1 full course of study requirements

Fall and Spring Semesters

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you be enrolled full-time (12 credits, if undergraduate; 9 credits (8 credits with UM Assistantship) or 800 level course, if graduate; 11 credits for all Law programs) each academic semester. Completing an "Incomplete" does not count towards enrollment.

International students can count no more than one online class or 3 credits, whichever is less, towards full-time enrollment requirements each semester. Students may enroll in additional in-person or online courses, as long as they meet the minimum enrollment requirements.

Exceptions to the full-course-of-study requirement

In order to be enrolled part-time during an academic term, international students must obtain authorization from their academic advisor and ISSS before the last day to register for classes or before dropping below full-time. Please note that with authorization to drop below full-course, you will still need to enroll in in-person classes and may not enroll in more than one online course or 3 credit equivalent during that semester.

Acceptable valid exceptions to full-time enrollment are limited to the reasons listed below: 

Last Semester Exception:

  • Current semester is student’s last semester prior to graduation.

Medical Reason:

  • Student has suffered an illness or medical condition which affected his/her academic work (Student must upload medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, psychiatrist or licensed psychologist).

Note: A medical reduced course load is limited to 12 months total per program level.

Academic Difficulty:

  • Difficulty with the English language (applicable only to first-year students).
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods or reading requirements (applicable only to first-year students).
  • Placement at an improper course level.

Note: Authorization due to academic difficulty is limited to one term per program level.  A reduced course load must consist of at least six semester or quarter hours, or half the clock hours required for a full course of study.

In order to withdraw from full-time enrollment, complete the Authorize to Drop Below Full Course Request for Students in F-1 and J-1 Status.  After logging in to complete the form with your Cane ID, you will be asked for your academic advisor's contact information. Your advisor will receive an email asking them to review and electronically sign the form.  You will receive an email notification on the status of your application.  If eligible for an authorized drop below full course load, you will be e-mailed your updated Form I-20 within 3 business days unless you were authorized to enroll part-time to complete your program during the current semester and your Form I-20 correctly reflects your program completion date.  

If the student withdraws from a full-time course load or registers for a part-time course load without a valid reason and prior authorization, he/she is considered to be out-of-status for immigration purposes.

Summer Sessions

Most international students are not required to enroll for the Summer Sessions. However, students graduating in the Summer are required to enroll for at least one in-person class in the Summer Session in which they will complete their program requirements. Students beginning a new program in the summer must be enrolled full-time and in person in the session they will begin their studies.

Concurrent Enrollment

An F-1 student may be enrolled in two different SEVIS-approved schools at one time as long as the combined enrollment amounts to a full-time course of study. In cases where a student is concurrently enrolled, the school from which the student will earn his or her degree or certification should issue the Form I-20, and conduct subsequent certifications and updates to the Form I-20. The DSO from this school is also responsible for all of the reporting requirements to USCIS.

Eligibility Requirements for Concurrent Enrollment:
You may apply to enroll concurrently at the University of Miami and another SEVIS-approved school if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. You are currently in F-1 status and will continue to maintain F-1 status; and
  2. You will continue to be enrolled at UM for the program of study specified on your Form I-20; and
  3. The combined credits for which you will enroll at UM and at a second school in the U.S. amount to a full course of study (i.e., 12 credits for undergraduate students, 9 credits for graduate students, 11 credits for all Law programs during fall and spring semesters); and
  4. Course work at the second school must not be vocational and must be accepted as credits transferable to UM and applicable to the degree you are pursuing at UM.

Application Procedures
Submit the Concurrent Enrollment Application form completed by you and your academic advisor to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in order to obtain permission for concurrent enrollment.

Failure to Comply with Concurrent Enrollment Regulations
It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students, including concurrent enrollment. Failure to comply with your responsibilities results in loss of your immigration status and ineligibility for any type of employment (even on-campus employment through a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship) or to apply for practical training or other F-1 benefits.