F-1 Academic Requirements

As an F-1 student you are required to be enrolled in a minimum amount of units per quarter to maintain your status. 

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduates must be enrolled in at least 12 units per quarter.

If you are finding it difficult to enroll in a full 12 units due to class selection, please contact your college advisor immediately:

College of Letters and Science: http://www.duels.ucsb.edu/international-students

College of Engineering: https://engineering.ucsb.edu/undergraduate/academic-advising

College of Creative Studies: https://www.ccs.ucsb.edu/

Graduate Students

Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 8 units per quarter, however, your department may require you to be enrolled in more than 8.

If you are finding it difficult to be enrolled in a full 8 units, please contact your program advisor immediately.

 

Requesting Approval for a Reduced Course Load

Immigration regulations permit exceptions to the full-time registration requirement in very limited circumstances and only with prior approval from OISS. Students will be considered for a reduced enrollment based on the reasons listed below.

To be considered for an exception, submit a completed Reduced Course Load Request Form to OISS prior to dropping any courses below full-time.

Reduced Enrollment for Academic Reasons

Download the Reduced Course Load Request form

  • Acceptable academic reasons for dropping below full-time include improper course placement, initial difficulties with English language and/or reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
  • An academic advisor (college or major advisor) or professor must recommend the reduced enrollment.
  • Reduced enrollment for academic reasons may be approved for only one quarter during the student's degree program. Students should consider this carefully before requesting an approved reduced enrollment for academic reasons since it can only be used once.

Reduced Enrollment for Final Quarter

Degree-seeking students who are completing their degree requirements in a specified quarter can enroll for as many or as few units as needed to graduate. Download the Reduced Course Load Request form

To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be on the degree list for the specified quarter
  • The student must graduate at the end of the quarter
  • Upon completion of the specified quarter:
    • F-1 students will have a 60-day grace period to: depart the U.S., transfer to another school, advance to a higher degree level, change their nonimmigrant status or apply for Optional Practical Training.

Reduced Enrollment for Medical Reasons

Download the Medical Reduced Course Load form.

  • Students may drop below full-time enrollment for physical or mental health reasons.
  • The reduced enrollment must be recommended by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist.
  • Reduced enrollment for health reasons may be approved for no more than a cumulative period of 12 months during the student’s degree program.
  • Approval for reduced enrollment will be given for only one quarter at a time, thus continuing health problems may need more than one approval if continued beyond one quarter.
  • All medical notes will be verified by OISS. Any fraudulent letters will be reported to Judicial Affairs and may result in the student losing their lawful immigration status.

Filing Leave (Graduate Students)

  • Graduate students who are in their final quarter can submit a Filing Leave to complete their dissertation or final exam.
  • Please refer to the Graduate Division’s policies on Filing Leave.