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Maintaining status/enrollment

Full-time Status Reminder

All students who are on F and J visas must be full time by the close of Fall open enrollment.

Full time at MSU is:

  • Undergraduates:12 credits per semester
  • Masters without assistantship: 9 credits per semester
  • Masters with assistantship: 6 credits per semester
  • Doctoral without assistantship: 6 credits per semester
  • Doctoral with assistantship: 3 credits per semester
  • Doctoral students who have passed all required comprehensive exams: 1 credit per semester

Note: you must be pre-approved for underenrollment by your advisor and by OISS. Underenrollment is approved for ONLY one semester per degree. UNFORTUNATELY OISS IS NOT IN A POSITION TO MAKE ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE.

Reasons for approving your one semester of underenrollment are:

  • Initial problems with English
  • Initial problems with reading requirements
  • Initial problems with American teaching methods
  • Improper course placement

Financial issues and course sequencing issues are NOT valid reasons for being underenrolled.

Please consult the Reduced Course Load (RCL) form (PDF)* for more information.

In addition to one semester of authorized underenrollment, there are only two cases in which OISS will authorize you to be less than full time:
1) if you have a health problem and bring a note from a doctor or psychologist
2) if you are in your final semester and are completing the required credits for your degree.

If you are not enrolled full time and do not have a signed reduced course load form on file for Fall or Spring semester, OISS is required by the federal government to report that you are not authorized for reduced course load. This could jeopardize your immigration status.

Summer Semester:
Summer is considered a vacation semester (no enrollment is required) only if it is your intention to enroll full-time for the following Fall semester. If you plan to complete your studies in Summer, then you must be enrolled full-time or apply for last semester reduced course load.

Note: there are restrictions on the number of virtual credits a student can take. Also, students can be full time between two institutions. For example: a student can take some credits at MSU and some at Lansing Community College. Please consult OISS for more information on these options.

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.