International Student Enrollment

Please note that the enrollment information on this page pertains only to immigration requirements. Other situations, such as maintaining scholarship eligibility, may require more hours.

The ISSO has created an Enrollment Calculator that may help you determine if your planned enrollment will meet the requirements. It can only provide general advice; if you have specific questions or concerns about your individual enrollment you are welcome to contact an International Student Advisor.

General Requirements

  • Courses must apply to the degree listed on the I-20.
  • No semester can be made up solely of pre-requisites.
  • In any required semester, enrollment must cover the full term (all courses cannot be in one 5- or 8-week session).
  • Enrollment must include the correct number of credit hours and the appropriate method of instruction.

Instruction Type

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security allows only one distance education course to count toward the full-time requirement.  For immigration purposes, at UT Dallas all instruction types other than “face-to-face” are counted as distance education.  Some of the other types of instruction available are online, hybrid, two-way interactive video and multiple or electronic media. To determine a course’s instruction type, look it up through Galaxy or the UTDCoursebook.


Examples of enrollment that meet F-1 visa requirements

*”Graduating semester” refers to the last semester of degree requirements, whether you are attending a graduation ceremony that semester or not. You must be completing the degree and major listed on your I-20 to be eligible to enroll less than full time.

Alternative Ways to Meet Requirements

  • Concurrent enrollment – Enroll at UT Dallas and another institution concurrently. Submit a Concurrent Enrollment Form to the UT Dallas ISSO by Census Day of each semester. See the Concurrent Enrollment section for specific requirements.
  • Graduating semester – In your final semester enrolling in all remaining courses is considered full-time enrollment for immigration purposes, even if the total number of hours is less than the standard requirement.  To use this option you must:
  • Authorized, full-time CPT – Available one fall or spring semester per year, a number of restrictions apply.  See the CPT page.
  • Study Abroad – Students who participate in UT Dallas-approved study abroad programs are enrolled full-time in a special UT Dallas course. For information about study abroad opportunities and requirements, contact Education Abroad.

In Absentia

In absentia registration for graduation allows students who have completed all degree requirements but need more time to complete administrative requirements, such as submission of dissertation copies, to file for graduation in a future term without enrollment in that term.  Unfortunately, immigration regulations do not allow for this situation. F-1 and J-1 students must continue to be full-time enrolled or make program completion preparations, such as applying for OPT, even if their academic department has granted an in absentia filing. For more information about in absentia, see your undergraduate or graduate catalog.