Academic Policies & Procedures

Graduate (All Students)

Course Load Requirements for Employment, SEVIS, and Full-Time Study

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has created the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to maintain current information on nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents (i.e., all those with F or J visa status). Students monitored by SEVIS must maintain full-time enrollment during fall and spring semesters (at least 8 credits for graduate students, or 6 credits for graduate students with associate instructorships or graduate assistantships). For more information about SEVIS, please visit

Persons who are employed full time should carry only 5 to 6 credit hours of graduate course work per semester. Those employed half time should not take more than 9 credit hours. The maximum credit load for associate instructors, research assistants, and graduate assistants depends on the number of credit hours indicated in the work assignment notice sent at the time of the appointment.

Full-Time Study
Graduate students are considered to be enrolled full-time with a minimum of 8 credits. Graduate students with an assistantship are considered to be enrolled full-time with a minimum of 6 credits. To have an assistantship, graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits. Individual student loan sources must be contacted to determine the minimum number and type of credits in which students must be enrolled to defer student loan repayment.

Frequently asked Question:
Question: I only have one 3-credit class to complete next semester for my degree, but I have an assistantship and I want to keep that job. Do I have to enroll in extra credits that I don't need just to be able to keep my assistantship?

Answer: Yes, unless the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) will agree to accept a letter, explaining your situation. If the OSFA accepts a letter of explanation, it is possible that they may waive this requirement and allow you to keep your assistantship with fewer than six credits of enrollment. The letter of explanation must come from the School of Public Health - Bloomington Dean's Office. The administrative secretary for academic affairs usually types such letters.

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