All international students with F-1 or J-1 student visas need to enroll full time to maintain their legal visa status.
Full-time enrollment is designated as:
- Undergraduate students: 12 units minimum per quarter
- Graduate students: 8 units minimum per quarter
TGR and Graduation Quarter are also considered as full-time enrollment.
Some schools and departments may have higher enrollment requirements. Please check with your school/department.
Exceptions: Immigration law allows the following exceptions to full-time enrollment:
- You are in the final quarter of your program. You must still be enrolled for the units remaining to complete the degree.
- You are enrolled in summer quarter: You do not have to be enrolled summer quarter unless starting a new program or returning from a leave of absence. However, if you intend to take off autumn quarter, you must enroll full time during the preceding summer quarter.
- You have a documented medical reason: In order to be able to be less than fully enrolled for medical reasons, you must obtain permission from an International Student Advisor at Bechtel International Center before you drop below full enrollment. For details, see
Medical Reduced Course Load (video).
The following are not exceptions to full-time enrollment:
- PSO as an undergraduate.
- The quarter before your are on TGR.
Stanford is required to report when students on F-1 or J-1 visas have failed to maintain a full course load. Unless an International Student Advisor approves the reduced course load, a visa-status violation results.
At Stanford, this means:
- If you are a graduate student who wishes to apply for Bechtel approval for a reduced course load in your final quarter, submit a completed Part-time Enrollment petition.
- If you are an undergraduate student you are not eligible for tuition adjustment until you have completed 12 quarters. You may apply for tuition adjustment in your 13th quarter if it is the final quarter and you have registered for a less than full-time course load. To apply, download the 13th-Quarter Petition. You must first submit this to Bechtel for approval. Upon Bechtel approval, you will forward the form to the Registrar’s Office.
- If you are applying for a reduced course load for medical reasons, you must first get approval from the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). You must apply on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Approval is given for no more than 12 months during your academic program.
- If you will not be enrolling for any coursework, refer to our Leave of Absence section.