Reduced Course Load

F-1 and J-1 students must enroll as full-time students during every quarter of their program of study at UCSB unless they have approval from OISS to drop below full time.
Full time enrollment is 12 units each quarter for undergraduate students, and 8 units each quarter for graduate students.
International students must receive authorization from OISS before dropping below full time status. This is done through requesting a reduced course load. Authorization is not automatic and not every student is eligible for a reduced course load.


  • It is your final quarter to graduate with your Bachelor's Degree (undergraduate students).
  • You are finishing your final coursework before your thesis/exams or it is your final quarter (graduate students).
  • You have a valid medical reason for taking less than 12 units (medical statement required)
  • You are having initial difficulties with the English language and/or with reading requirements
  • You are experiencing unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • You have been improperly placed in a course level that is too high

Please note the following:

  • Students must already be enrolled full-time prior to submitting their request.
  • Students requesting a Reduced Course Load must still be enrolled in at least 6 units, unless:
    • Fewer than 6 units are required to complete your program
    • You have a valid medical reason for taking less than 6 units
  • A reduced course load for academic reasons may only be approved once during your academic program.
  • Medical statements must be in English from a licensed physician or psychologist. OISS will not accept statements from chiropractors or acupuncturists.
  • Getting a bad grade in a course does not make you eligible for a reduced course load. You may want to explore the Pass/Not Pass grading option when you are uncertain how well you will do in a class or when you do not want a class to count toward your GPA.


  1. Meet with your department/college advisor to determine your eligibility for a reduced course load and the possible impact of part-time enrollment on your program of study.
  2. Complete and obtain the advisor’s signature on the Reduced Course Load Request Form.
  3. Come to OISS during walk-in advising hours or schedule an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss your request.
  4. Submit your form to the International Student Advisor for review.

If your request is approved, you will receive your Reduced Course Load Request Form back, complete with an International Student Advisor’s signature to indicate that it was approved. You should keep the approved form with your records as proof that you were authorized to drop below full-time enrollment. You may then log into GOLD and drop the appropriate course(s).