UCI International Center

Reduced Course Load

Section 1

Visa Enrollment Requirements

International (F-1/J-1) students are required to enroll full-time each quarter in order to maintain valid visa status. 

Visa requirements require that you enroll in a minimum of:

  • 12 units each quarter in Fall, Winter, and Spring.
  • 6 units in Summer - only if you will complete you degree and summer session will be your  final quarter at UCI.

Exceptions to the full-course-of-study requirement

There are a few exceptions to the full-time requirements, please review the information below  about requesting an exception through the Reduced Course Load (RCL) process. In order to maintain valid visa status, you must follow the RCL process and be approved by the International Center when going below 12 units (or 6 when summer is your final quarter). 

UCI Part-Time Study Requirements

You must review University Registrar information about Part-Time Study.

You are responsible for knowing UCI allowable reasons for part-time study, course enrollment limits, your tuition/fee amount and payment requirements and deadlines.

Reduced Course Load (RCL) Reasons

Academic Difficulty RCL

Academic difficulty can only be used one time for the following reasons:

  • Initial difficulties with the English language
  • Initial difficulties with reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement.  

Final Quarter RCL

A Final Quarter RCL is available to you if you are in your last quarter at UCI and need less than 12 units to complete your degree.  You must complete all degree requirements by the end of the quarter which you requested this exception. You can only receive this exception one time. 

UC EAP Reciprocity students are not eligible for final quarter RCL.

Medical RCL

A Medical RCL will authorize you to enroll in less than 12 units due to illness or medical condition. We recommend that you schedule a time to meet with an International Student Advisor at the International Center if you need information about a Medical RCL.

Requirements for Medical RCL:

  • Must be in the U.S. for medical treatment
  • Will only be approved an a quarter-by-quarter basis.
  • You must provide a letter with recommendation for reduced course-load.
  • The letter must be signed by one of the following:
    • Medical Doctor (MD); or
    • Doctor of Osteopathy (DO); or
    • Licensed Psychologist; or
    • Clinical Psychologist

The letter must include the following:

  • Written on offical letterhead, dated and signed.
  • State that you are under medical/health care.
  • Include a clear recommendation that you should reduce your course load or take a leave; and include the dates of recommendation (start and end date).

Reduced Course Load (RCL) Application Process

Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters Process

  • Initiate the process on UCI University Registar StudentAccess 
  • Select the term which you are requesting part time
    • As an international student, you can only apply one quarter at a time
  • Select your reason for applying
    • You must enter a brief reason for applying
  • If you are applying based on Health/Medical you must upload your Doctor’s Letter to the International Center  Student Request Upload Tool

Summer Session Process

Follow this process only if you will complete your degree during Summer and need to enroll in less than 6 units.

You must upload the following documents to the Student Request Upload Tool for review by the International Center:

  • Reduced Course Load Form
  • Proof of Ernollment in Summer Session
    • Example: email confirmation from UCI Summer Session or screenshot of your study list

Graduate Students

Filing Fee/Final Quarter RCL 

You may request an exception to the full-time enrollment requirement if you will be on filing fee  during your last quarter at UCI. You may only use filing fee if you have not previously been approved for a Final Quarter RCL. By applying for filing fee, you are expected to complete your degree at the end of the quarter, on time. Extensions of programs after filing fee status are not permitted. It is highly recommended that students maintain health insurance through the duration of Filing Fee Status.

Filing Fee/Final Quarter RCL Application Process: