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Maintaining status/enrollment

Full Time Enrollment Requirements

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

Full time enrollment 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 Reduced Course Load (RCL) by your advisor AND by OISS. RCL is approved for ONLY one semester per degree. OISS CANNOT 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 unacceptable reasons for being underenrolled.

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 meet the requirements for this as indicated in the RCL form
2) If you are in your final semester of completing the required credits for your degree.

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

Summer Semester

  • Summer is considered a vacation semester (no enrollment is required) only if you are enrolled full time or are completing your studies for the following Fall semester.
  • If you plan to complete your studies in Summer, then you must enroll full time or apply for last semester RCL.
  • Students starting a new program in Summer or returning for Summer semester after a break from studies at MSU must enroll full time.

Note: there are restrictions on the number of online classes a student can count towards their full time enrollment. 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.

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