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  • Obtaining Reduced Course Load Authorization

    If you have a reason supported by the regulations to be approved for a Reduced Course Load (PDF) (RCL), you must first get written authorization from ISS before the end of the add/drop period.

    Students are authorized for a Reduced Course Load for the following reasons only

    • Medical reasons (must not exceed an aggregate of 12 months per program level)

    Academic reasons

    • Initial difficulties with the English language
    • Initial difficulties with reading requirements
    • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
    • Improper course level placement
    • RCL in the final semester
    • Concurrent enrollment at another educational institution

    Regulatory reasons that you may be authorized for reduced course load

    • If your department has determined that you are unfamiliar with U.S. teaching methods or requirements, or that you were improperly placed in a course level, you may seek a course load reduction. (This does not apply to ESL students.)
    • Your department has determined that you need ESL training so you are enrolling in non-credit-bearing ESL courses. (Exchange: 6 hours of ESL = one 3-credit program course.) (This does not apply to ESL students.)
    • You have a medical reason to be enrolled less than full-time and able to document it clearly with medical documents. F-1 Students are limited to authorization of a medical reduced course load for no more than one year per program of study.
    • You are employed on campus pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship that is deemed to be part of your academic program. You will need to provide a letter from the Financial Aid Office offering the award and a letter from your Department Chair detailing your responsibilities.
    • As part of your program of study requirements, you are concurrently enrolled in courses at another university, bringing your total enrollment to full-time.
    • This is your last semester and you need fewer courses than a full-time load to satisfy all the requirements of your program of study.
    • You were not in the U.S., and therefore not in F-1 Student status and not required to be enrolled full-time during a semester.

    For J-1 Students, similar limits apply. Please speak to an ISS advisor regarding your circumstances.

    To apply for Reduced Course Load you must submit

    • ISS Service Request Form
    • Completed Reduced Course Load Approval Form  (PDF) signed by your Academic Advisor.
    • Official letter from a health care professional OR academic advisor stating the reasons why a reduced course load is needed. (A letter is not needed for RCL authorization in the final semester.)
    • Proof of registration, if you are concurrently enrolled at another institution.