As an international student, you must register for and complete a full course of study each term during the academic year.

Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree students complete registration through MyOSU.  For more information on how to register, visit the General Catalog for instructions.

Exchange Students receive an email with registration instructions from their OSU Exchange Coordinator.

Students in INTO OSU programs receive emails from INTO OSU’s Academic Support team with registration details and instructions. Students can also stop by the ILLC Welcome Desk for registration dates.

Maintaining Full-Time Status

F-1 and J-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment to keep their visa status active throughout their program of study in the United States.  Full-time enrollment for immigration purposes depends on your program of study here at OSU.  Below are the full-time requirements based on program:

  • Academic English – 18 credits per term

  • SAWE Part 1 – 18 credits per term, SAWE Part 2 – 12 credits per term

  • Undergraduate/Graduate Pathways – 12 credits per term

  • Undergraduate – 12 credits per term

  • Graduate – 9 credits per term (Note: Graduate assistants may be required to enroll for more than 9 credits per term and should follow the enrollment policies set by the Graduate School and/or their department.)

Please Remember

  • Audited courses and withdrawals do not count toward full-time enrollment.

  • No more than one course (3 credits) of distance (E-campus) or online education can count toward full-time enrollment per term.

  • S/U credits count towards full-time enrollment.

Exceptions to the Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

Failure to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the program of study could result in a SEVIS termination. A SEVIS termination means that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be notified that a student is not maintaining their status. Students must receive written approval from the Office of International Services prior to registering for less than a full-course of study or dropping below a full-course of study.

Immigration regulations on enrollment are very strict and allow for exceptions only under certain conditions.

  • Students experiencing a serious medical or psychological condition should meet with an International Student Advisor to see if they qualify for a reduced course load based on medical reasons.

  • Degree-seeking students who have just arrived in the U.S. and are experiencing language and cultural adjustment difficulties may be eligible for a reduced course load during the first term.

  • Undergraduate or INTO OSU students may apply for a reduced course load at the start of their final term if they have less than the required full-time credits remaining to complete their program.

  • Fully-admitted undergraduate students who would like to enroll at OSU and another school at the same time may be eligible for concurrent enrollment. Interested students may also want to enroll in the Degree Partnership Program (DPP) in addition to applying for concurrent enrollment. Important Notes about DPP:

    • Fully‐admitted international students to OSU who have NOT previously been enrolled as a full‐time student in the U.S. are encouraged to enroll full‐time with OSU their first term before requesting permission to participate in the DPP.

    • Sponsored Students should seek written approval from their sponsor before applying for the DPP or Concurrent Enrollment.

    • If you have an OSU tuition remission scholarship (ICSP, International Provost, OIS, etc.), consult with the Office of International Services (OIS) in University Plaza.

    • Deadline to apply for the DPP is typically 3 weeks prior to the beginning of each term.

  • Graduate students who have completed all required coursework and all program requirements as listed on the Graduate Program of Study may apply for a reduced enrollment.

Reduced Course Load, Concurrent Enrollment, and Reduced Enrollment forms are available on the OIS Forms Page or in the OIS reception lobby at University Plaza. These should be submitted prior to the start of a requested term.

Vacation Term

Students on a vacation term can choose to:

  • Remain in the U.S. and not enroll in classes (as long as they maintain health insurance coverage)

  • Return to their home country

  • Study part time on campus, at another school, or online

Degree-seeking students are allowed to take one vacation term during the year.  They can take summer as a vacation term without any additional approval needed, as long as their program has not ended and they are planning to return for the following Fall term.

Degree-seeking students who wish to take a term off other than summer term may be eligible if they have been fully enrolled for the previous 3 terms (including summer) and should meet with an international student advisor to determine eligibility. Please note that if you decide to take a vacation term outside of summer term, you must register full-time for the next three consecutive terms before being allowed to take another vacation term (this may include summer).

INTO OSU students must always apply to OIS for a vacation term, whether the vacation term is in the summer or a different term. Students in INTO OSU programs can request a vacation term after enrolling full-time for three consecutive terms and must receive approval from both OIS and INTO OSU. See INTO OSU Vacation Term FAQs for more information.

Vacation Term forms are available on the OIS Forms Page or in the OIS reception lobby at University Plaza. These should be submitted prior to the start of a requested term.