Full Course of Study

F-1 and J-1 visa holding students must maintain a full course of study throughout their education. At JMU, an undergraduate full load is considered 12 credit hours and a graduate full load is considered 9 credit hours. This minimum credit requirement must be maintained for every semester. Failure to maintain a full course of study will result a termination of your immigration status.

Exceptions to Full Course of Study Requirement

Immigration regulations dictate that a Reduced Course Load (RCL) must be authorized by ISSS prior to dropping below full-time status. SEVIS limits the reasons for the RCL and the duration of an RCL:

  • If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to attend class, you must complete the Reduced Course Load application in Terra Dotta with medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist. 
  • If you have an academic concern or this is your final semester, please see your academic advisor to discuss the circumstances that might qualify you for the RCL and complete the Reduced Course Load application in Terra Dotta.


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

    • Illness or medical condition.
    • Initial difficulty with English language.
    • Initial difficulty with reading requirements.
    • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
    • Improper course level placement.
    • To complete course of study in current term.
    • Part-time border commuter student. 


If you believe you may be eligible for the RCL, you must complete the Reduced Course Load application in Terra Dotta and submit documentation verifying your circumstances. Permission to drop below full-time must be approved first, then classes may be dropped after your request is approved.

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