Reduced Course Load

International students in F-1 and J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment during the school year. If you cannot or will not meet this requirement, you must request a reduced course load. Federal immigration regulations severely limit a student's ability to be less than full time, but it may be allowed in some circumstances, including academic difficulties, medical conditions, or completion of course of study.  For full explanation of these circumstances, please visit the International Center's website here.

The most common reason MSE students request is for completion of course of study.  A student must apply for Reduced Course Load (RCL) in his/her final term if fewer courses (i.e. less than full time) are needed and required to complete the course of study.  A student may still opt to be registered as a full-time student if they wish and would not need to request RCL.

A request for RCL does not eliminate the requirement to be enrolled during the entire semester.  A student must be enrolled in at least one class that fills the entire semester or two classes that fill the first and second 7-week sessions (ie. a student who only has 1 credit left to complete for the degree cannot only enroll in one of the 7-week sessions).

Full instructions for how to apply for RCL can be found here.  The MSE Department only assists with the RCL Recommendation Letter, which is used to verify that the current term will be the final term for the student to complete his/her academic program.  In order to request this letter, please send an email to and an RCL letter will be sent to you electronically listing the minimum number of credits required to complete the degree.

Please allow 2-3 business days for the document to be emailed.