University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

J – 1 Students

Full Course of Study Requirement

Immigration regulations require that all J-1 students register for and complete a full course of study every term to maintain legal status. Read below for general rules about registration.  Click here for information about exceptions to the full course of study requirement.

Students must have prior approval from ISSS before the semester begins if you plan to enroll for less than a full course of study or before a cancel/withdraw that results in less than a full course load.

  • Credit Requirements:
    • Graduate School Students: 6 credits per semester
    • Undergraduate Students: 12 credits per semester
    • Non-degree seeking students: 12 credits per semester
    • Professional School Students: 12 credits per semester
  • Note: Certain academic programs as well as exchange and scholarship program sponsors and other private educational funding agencies may use a different credit requirement for their students. If this credit requirement is higher than the requirement listed above, it takes precedence over the above requirement.
  • U of MN requires a minimum of 13 credits per semester for undergraduate degree-seeking students. See more details ...
  • Summer Session Enrollment: Continuing students are not required to enroll during summer session. Students admitted to begin a program in the summer MUST enroll full-time during the summer of admission.
  • Thesis credits DO count toward your full course of study requirement. As long as the total number of credits meets your minimum requirement, you may take any combination of thesis and/or course credits.
  • FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent. This means that the FTE courses (8444 for PhD students and 8333 for Master’s students) satisfy the full-course requirement for Graduate Students. If you are taking the FTE course, you do NOT need to submit a Reduced Course Load for J-1 Students form to ISSS.
  • Grad0999 enrollment does NOT satisfy the full course requirement. Grad0999 is a zero-credit registration. Students enrolling in Grad0999 must also submit a Reduced Course Load Form to ISSS in order to maintain immigration status.
  • Audited courses do NOT count toward your full course requirement. The audit grade basis for courses means you do not earn credit for the course.
  • Enroll for all of your credits at the beginning of the term. If you plan to split your enrollment between the first and second half of the semester, you must enroll for ALL courses at the beginning of the term. You may not wait until mid-term to enroll for second half courses.
  • You are responsible for your enrollment. If your department will perform enrollment for you, make sure that your enrollment occurs before the drop/add deadline of the term. SEVIS reporting occurs early in the semester, therefore retroactive enrollment is not acceptable. If your department does not enroll you before the deadline, YOU will lose your legal status.