Reduced Course Load

Students are required to enroll in and complete a full course of study (8 units for graduate students – unless the department requires a higher number of units; 12 units for undergraduates) for 3 consecutive quarters of every academic year.

Stanford is required to report to the DHS when an F-1/J-1 student has failed to maintain a full course load.

Unless the reduced course load is approved by an International Student Advisor, a visa-status violation will result. An I-Center advisor can approve a reduced course load under very limited conditions such as when the student is in his/her final quarter (i.e. will graduate at the end of that quarter) and for documented medical reasons. However, the student must request and obtain the approval from the I-Center advisor for the reduced course load prior to dropping below the full course of study.

Students who drop below without the approval of an I-Center advisor will violate their visa status, even if they would have been otherwise eligible for such approval.

  • Graduate students who wish to apply for I-Center approval for a reduced course load in their final quarter can do so by submitting a completed Request for Graduate Tuition Adjustment form. This form can be downloaded from the Registrar's website.
  • Undergraduate students are not eligible for tuition adjustment until they have completed 12 quarters. They may apply for tuition adjustment in their 13th quarter if it is their final quarter and they have registered for a less than full time course load. To apply, students must download the 13th-Quarter Petition from the Registrar’s website. This form must be submitted to the I-Center for approval. Upon approval the I-Center will fax the form to the Registrar’s office.

Students who apply for reduced course load for medical reasons must first get approval from the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Students must apply on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Approval can be given for no more than a total of 12 months during a student’s academic program.

Students who will not be enrolling for any coursework should refer to our Leave of Absence section.


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