International Students are required to enroll full-time every fall and spring semester. Full-time enrollment at SMU is:
- 12 credit hours for undergraduate students
- 9 credit hours for graduate students
*Please be advised that there are some graduate programs that have different enrollment requirements than the standard 9 credit hour requirement.
Enrolling for summer is optional unless otherwise deemed by your academic department or if the summer term is your first semester at SMU.
Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment Requirements
Although the U.S. government requires full-time enrollment for every long semester, the government also acknowledges that full-time enrollment is not always possible. Reasons for which the government allows less than full-time enrollment are:
- If it is the international student’s first semester at SMU and the student is having language difficulties or is unfamiliar with U.S. teaching methods, then the student would become eligible for a reduced course load for academic reasons.
- If the international student was improperly placed in a course level that the student is not prepared to take, then the student can seek a reduced course load for academic reasons.
- If the international student has a severe medical condition that will prevent the student from attending classes and/or fulfilling course requirements, then the student can seek a reduced course load for medical reasons.
- If the international student is in his/her graduating semester and does not need to be enrolled full-time in order to complete his/her program, then the student can seek a reduced course load for last semester.
Important: All exceptions will need to be authorized by the ISSS office prior to dropping a course. Dropping a course without the authorization from a Designated School Official (DSO) at the ISSS office is considered a violation of an international student’s immigration status.
Enrolling in Online Courses
International students are permitted to enroll in one online course or a 3-credit hour course that counts towards the student’s full-time enrollment requirement. In other words, undergraduate students will need to be enrolled in at least 9 credit hours of in-person (on-campus?) courses and graduate students will need to be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of in-person courses.
International students are permitted to enroll concurrently (same time) at SMU and another institution. However, any courses taken at another institution must be approved by the ISSS office and the credits taken at the other institution must be transferrable to SMU. Therefore, concurrent enrollment must also be approved by the student’s academic advisor at SMU.
Enrollment with Approved Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Students approved for a full-time CPT (working more than 20 hours per week) are only allowed to register for the CPT-related course. Students approved for a part-time CPT (working less than 20 hours per week) are required to register as a full-time student.
Reduced Course Load for Academic Reasons
Reduced Course Load for Medical Reasons
Reduced Course Load for Last Semester