How do I know if I need to submit a Change of Degree Level (CDL) request?
If you are a current, continuing student at Northeastern and you will be starting a new program at Northeastern, you must submit a Change of Degree Level e-form request to myOGS prior to starting the new program. Once the request is approved, OGS will issue you a new Form I-20/DS-2019 that reflects the new degree program.
Please note: this does NOT apply to Bachelor’s degree level students who are simply changing their major. For Bachelor’s degree level changes of major, please submit the I-20 Request for Continuing Students.
Below you will find a list of scenarios that would require submitting a Change of Degree Level (CDL) request to OGS:
- Change from Global Scholars to Bachelor’s degree level
- Change from pathway program to Bachelor’s degree level
- Change from Bachelor’s degree level to Master’s degree level
- Change from Bachelor’s degree level to Graduate Certificate program
- Change from one Master’s degree program to another Master’s degree program (either after completing the first, or without completing)
- Change from Graduate Certificate program to Master’s degree program
- Change from Master’s degree program to Graduate Certificate program
- Change from Master’s degree program to PhD degree program (either after completing the Master’s, or without completing)
- Change from PhD degree program to Master’s degree program (i.e. if you are not able to complete the PhD, or choose to graduate with a Master’s instead of completing the PhD)
- All PlusOne programs (before starting the graduate portion of the program)
When do I need to submit the CDL request?
You must submit a Change of Degree Level e-form request to myOGS prior to starting the new program, and no later than 60 days after the program end date listed on the I-20 for your current/previous degree program. This is technically your 60-day grace period.
After the 60 days, if no action is taken on your SEVIS record, the record will automatically complete. If you do not submit your CDL request in a timely manner, you will no longer be eligible for a CDL I-20, and will need to depart the U.S. immediately and request a new Initial I-20 to return for the new degree program.
Please also note that the start term for your new degree program must be the earliest possible start term, no later than 5 months after you complete or end your previous program.
Requirements to Submit the CDL Request
In order to submit the Change of Degree Level e-form, you will need to:
- Have a passport that remains valid at least 6 months into the future
- Already be admitted and pay the enrollment deposit (if required) for your new academic program
- Demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources for at least one academic year of your new degree program. You can find the estimated expenses here. Financial documentation must meet the requirements.
New CDL I-20 and Immigration Clearance
Once your change of degree level request is processed by OGS, you will receive a new I-20 with the same SEVIS ID number reflecting the new degree information.
Please note that you will be required to submit an Immigration Clearance again for this new degree.
Enrollment after a CDL
Your first term on the new CDL I-20 is considered your first term in a new program – therefore it is a required term. This means that you must maintain full-time enrollment with appropriate on-ground presence, even if it is the summer term.
- Full-time enrollment is as follows:
- Undergraduate: minimum of 12 credit hours per term
- Graduate: minimum of 8 credit hours per term (9 credit hours per term in a 3-credit enrollment system)
- Graduate students who hold an assistantship: minimum of 6 credit hours per term
You can learn more about maintaining full-time enrollment and appropriate on-ground presence on the Guidelines on Maintaining Status page.
Travel and Change of Degree Level
You can remain in the U.S. in the time between degree programs, as long as you request the CDL in a timely manner following the deadlines explained in the section above.
If you depart the U.S. after the program end date on the I-20 for your previous degree program, you will need to wait until you receive the new CDL I-20 for your new degree program to enter the U.S.
As your SEVIS ID and school name on your CDL I-20 as your previous I-20, your previously issued F-1 visa should remain valid for travel as long as it has not expired.
Employment and Change of Degree Level
- You may continue any on-campus employment during the time between degree levels only if you have received the Change of Degree level I-20.
OPT & STEM OPT Employment
- Once your change of degree level I-20 is processed, you will no longer be eligible to apply for Post-Completion OPT based on the previous degree.
- If you are currently on an approved period of OPT/STEM OPT and you receive a new change of degree level I-20, you must stop your OPT/STEM employment as of the new I-20 start date, regardless of whether your EAD card will have validity after that date.