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Full Course of Study Requirement

J-1 Visa holding students must maintain a full course of study throughout his/her education. At JMU an undergraduate full load is considered 12 credit hours, and a graduate full load is considered 9 credit hours.  This must be maintained during the fall and spring semester.  Failure to maintain a full course of study will result a termination of your immigration status.

Exception to a Full Course of Study:

Immigration regulations dictate that a Reduced Course Load (RCL) must be authorized by the Designated School Official prior to dropping below full-time status.  SEVIS limits the reasons for the ‘RCL’ and the duration of a RCL.  If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to attend class, you must provide medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist and submit this form and medical documentation to the DSO to substantiate the illness or condition.  If you have an academic concern, please see your advisor to discuss your circumstance that might qualify you for the RCL or have your advisor verify that you are in your final semester and are fulfilling all graduation requirements in this term.

The following may be legitimate reasons for a reduced course load:

  • Illness or medical condition
  • Initial difficulty with English language
  • Initial difficulty with English language
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement
  • To complete course of study in current term

If you believe you may be eligible for the RCL, you must complete a Reduced Course Load Form and return it to ISSS along with documentation verifying your circumstances.  Permission to drop below full-time must be approved in SEVIS first, then classes may be dropped at the Registrar's Office if your request is granted.