At Temple University, graduate students are considered full-time when they are registered for nine credits. Undergraduate students are considered full-time when they are registered for twelve credits. There are times when a student can be registered for fewer than the required number of credits and still be considered to be maintaining her/his status both academically and for immigration purposes. In these cases, for academic and immigration purposes, an international student is considered full-time despite the fact that they are registered for fewer than 9 or 12 credits.
FULL-TIME EQUIVALENCY: In the following cases, international students are automatically considered full-time for immigration purposes.
- Graduate student holds full-time Assistantship/Externship. The student must be registered for a minimum of 6 credits and provide ISSS with a copy of the Award Letter.
- Graduate student is at the thesis or dissertation research/writing stage. The student must be registered for a minimum of 1 credit. See course list for those courses that meet this criteria.
- Graduate student is in the final semester of his/her coursework and will advance to research stage next semester. Student must be in compliance with the Graduate School's "Full-time Policy."
- Graduate student has completed all coursework and is preparing for comps/prelims which student MUST pass before moving forward in degree program. Student must be in compliance with the Graduate School's "Full-time Policy."
If this office cannot easily determine that a student meets one of these criteria, we will contact you and ask you to have your Academic Advisor complete the "Reduced Course Load" form. You do not need to have the form completed unless you are asked to do so. If we do ask for it, please have your advisor or a full-time temple staff member who has access to your records email it to us. We cannot accept an unsigned form from your email account.
Reduced Course Load. If you are a part-time student and none of the above criteria apply, you must apply for a reduced course load. This means that you should be registered full-time because there are still classes left for you to take, but you are requesting authorization from the Office of International Services to be part-time for a given semester for a specific reason.
An international student may be authorized for a reduced course load only if s/he meets one of the criteria described below:
- Student is in the first semester of a degree program IN THE UNITED STATES and needs time to adjust to the American classroom, the English Language or intensive reading requirements. Student must remain regitered for a minimum of six credit hours;
- Student has been improperly advised, for which the academic advisor must include a letter explaining how the department incorrectly advised the student regarding her/his registration;
- Student has a medical condition that prohibits a full time course load, a condition which must be accompanied by medical documentation;
- Graduate or undergraduate student is completing final course requirements towards his/her degree that semester. Student may register for the amount of credits left to complete degree
Students in these situations must have their academic advisors complete and submit to this office the "Request for a Reduced Course Load" form. Such students are required to be registered full-time before they apply for a reduced course load. Submission of the form does NOT guarantee approval of the request.
Please note that financial restrictions are not a valid reason for part-time status. If you are experiencing a financial need due to unforeseen circumstances, you may be eligible for "Employment due to urgent, unforeseen circumstances." Working may alleviate your financial strain but you will still be required to be a full-time student.