F-1 Program Requirements

U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations limit the type of programs and courses available to international students.  In order for students to obtain and maintain F-1 visas, an academic program must meet the following criteria:

  • Officially accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  • Culminates in attainment of a specific academic objective (academic certificate, bachelors, masters, or doctorate)
  • Listed in university publications as a full-time program
  • Comprised mostly of classroom- based courses
  • Requires full admission
  • No semester consists solely of prerequisites
  • During fall and spring semesters the program department provides sufficient courses so that an F-1 student can meet the regulatory full-time requirements:
    • Graduate students - 9 credit hours with a maximum of 3 credit hours in online, blended or distance education courses
    • Undergraduate - 12 credit hours with a maximum of 3 credit hours in online, blended or distance education courses
  • During summer semesters of required enrollment*provides sufficient courses so that an F-1 student can meet the regulatory full-time requirements:
    • Graduate students - 6 credit hours with a maximum of 3 credit hours in online, blended or distance education courses
    • Undergraduate - 9 credit hours with a maximum of 3 credit hours in online, blended or distance education courses

* Enrollment is optional in summer unless it is the student’s first semester in a new program or last semester before completing program requirements.  If it is the last semester, the student can enroll in all courses completing the degree plan and have it is considered as full-time, whether or not it meets the standard numeric (6/9) amount.

Adding an F-1 Eligible Program

To allow the ISSO to issue Form I-20s for a new program, the Program Head or Director can submit an F-1 Program Attestation Form to the ISSO via ISSOCurrent@utdallas.edu.  Eligible programs will be added to the ISSO system.

For questions about this process, contact Cristen Casey (cristen@utdallas.edu).

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