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International Student Services

Meeting Full-time Enrollment Requirements

As an international student, you are required to enroll in classes full time during the fall and spring semesters to maintain your visa status. You are also required to enroll full-time in summer if it is your first or last semester and you do not otherwise qualify for a Reduced Course Load.

Full Time Enrollment

If you are an undergraduate student, 12 hours is considered full time.

If you are a graduate student and do not have a graduate assistantship, 9 hours is considered full time.

If you are are a graduate assistant, 6 hours is considered full time.

 As an international student, only one online class per semester counts toward full-time enrollment. This means you must be enrolled in mostly traditional classes that require presence in a classroom.

Summer enrollment is not required unless it is your first semester or last semester of study. If summer is your first semester or last semester of study, full-time enrollment is required. If summer is your final term, then you are welcome to apply for a reduced course load.

ISS recommends that you refrain from starting during the summer term if at all possible because of difficulties you may encounter with the full-time enrollment requirement.

Reduced Course Load

There are several acceptable reasons for a reduced course load. If you think you qualify for a reduced course load, you and your academic advisor must complete a Reduced Course Load Request Form (available in the ISS Forms Library) and submit via email to iss@sc.edu. The following reasons may qualify you for a reduced course load:

  • You are in your final semester and don't need to enroll full-time in order to complete your coursework (1 semester maximum)
  • You are a graduate student, your coursework is completed, and you are working on your dissertation (You will also need to complete a Special Enrollment (Z Status) Form with the Graduate School. Please contact the Graduate School for more information regarding this form.)
  • You are in your first semester, and you have initial difficulty with the English language (1 semester maximum)
  • You are in your first semester, and you have initial difficulty with reading requirements or teaching methods (1 semester maximum)
  • You are placed in an improper course level (1 semester maximum)
  • You have unfamiliarity with American teaching methods (1 semester maximum)
  • You have a documented medical issue that is so severe that it prevents you from studying full-time (see here for more details--you will need to complete a separate form and obtain a doctor's note)

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