When a reduced course load is permitted

  • Students who are experiencing certain types of academic difficulties, as allowed by U.S. federal government regulations, may apply for a reduced course load
  • The reasons allowed for a reduced coursed are:
    • Improper course placement (e.g. you registered for a course and then you and/or the professor discover that a prerequisite requirement is needed)
    • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
    • Initial difficulty with English language
    • Initial difficulty with reading requirements
  • Failing a class is not a sufficient reason to apply for a reduced course load.
  • Students must apply to OGS for a reduced course load before dropping below full-time status or before registering for a reduced number of courses
  • Students must still be enrolled in at least 50% of a full-time course load even with a reduced course load authorization
  • A reduced course load for academic difficulties may be taken only once per academic degree level

Students who are in their last academic term of their program of study may not need a full-time course load to complete the requirements for their degree. No authorization from OGS is needed in this situation. Please see Final Term page for details.

How to request authorization

To request authorization for a reduced course load:

  1. Part one of the “Recommendation for Reduced Course Load” form is completed by the student.
  2. Part two of the “Recommendation for Reduced Course Load” form must be completed by the academic advisor for undergraduate students and the SEVIS contact for graduate and CPS students.
  3. Students submits the OGS online form.
  4. Once it is approved, you and the Registrar’s Office will receive an email that will allow you to drop your courses.

Key Resources

Recommendation for Reduced Course Load »

This form should be completed if you need to drop a course due to academic difficulties.

Related Articles:

Final Term

In general, F-1 and J-1 students are required to maintain a full-time enrollment status even in their final academic term. Learn the exception.

Guidelines on Maintaining Status

While it is your responsibility to maintain your status, the Office of Global Services is here to help guide you through the complexities of the US government regulations and procedures.

Medical Leave of Absence

During your time at Northeastern University, it may become necessary to take a medical leave of absence. The instructions for taking and returning from a medical leave are described below.

Non-Medical Leave of Absence

During your time at Northeastern University, it may become necessary to take a non-medical leave of absence. Students who need a non-medical leave of absence, which includes any reason that is not medical, will need to apply to the Office of Global Services (OGS) as well as to their college/graduate school for this request.