Full-Time Courseload

F-1 & J-1 students are required by federal law to register full-time every fall and spring semester during their programs of study.  Full-time registration is considered to be 12 credits for undergrads and 9 credits for graduate students. Graduate thesis students may be elegible to be in only 4 credits if they qualify for reduced registration.  Please go to Registration Requirements – Reduced Registration How to Qualify.

Summer Sessions

Registration during the summer session is not required unless it is the first semester of study OR a student has changed to a new degree level which becomes effective during a summer session.  In these cases, 6 credits. is considered full-time for undergrads and 4 credits for graduate students.

Concurrent Enrollment at Another College or University

Students may also wish to take a course or two at a nearby college and apply that credit to the degree program at Colorado School of Mines.  This is called concurrent enrollment.  Students must have been enrolled at Mines for a minimum of one semester to be eligible and must still be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits at the Colorado School of Mines to qualify.

Study Abroad

International students who participate in a formal study abroad program through Colorado School of Mines International Programs Office can be considered full-time if registration with Mines is maintained each fall/spring semester and at least 12 credits. (undergrads) or 9 credits. (graduate students) will be transferred to the Mines following the program.  Students must also fill out a International Student Studying Abroad Form with Dr. Godel-Gengenbach.

Registering Below Full-Time

In some situations, F-1 & J-1 degree-seeking students may qualify to enroll below full-time.  The reasons are very limited, and generally relate to first-year adjustment and academic situations.

The reasons include:

  • Academic Difficulty — If a degree-seeking student is in his/her first year of study in the U.S. and is experiencing:
    • (1) initial difficulty with the English language,
    • (2) unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or
    • (3) initial difficulty with reading requirements.  It may also include Improper Course Level, where a student is at any point in the program of study and has registered for a course that is too advanced or difficult for their level.  Academic Difficulty can be used only once, and students must still take at least 6 semester hours.
  • Undergraduate or Master’s degree candidates in their final semester of study.  This option may only be used once per degree level.  Students must graduate in the semester for which they received this approval.
  • Students who are experiencing serious medical issues may also seek limited permission to drop below full-time, not to exceed 12 months.

Other students who may qualify for a reduced course load are students whose enrollment is considered “full-time equivalent.”  These students include:

Permission for a Reduced Course Load

Students who wish to receive authorization to register below full-time, or who are engaged in concurrent enrollment at another college or university, must request permission from ISSS.  You can get this permission by following the instructions below:


Complete the application in the International Portal “Reduced Course Load for F-1 or J-1 Students.”

Once you complete the application, you will need to submit a recommendation to your academic adviser who will submit their recommendation for the allowing the drop to happen.
If you are advised by the Center for Academic Services & Advising (CASA), you must make an appointment to meet with your advisor before they will approve the form.
If you are advised in an academic department, your departmental advisor may also prefer that you schedule an appointment to meet with them.
After your adviser complete the recommendation we will complete the request and email the registrars office asking them to allow you to drop.


Reminder about Long Distance Education/On-Line Classes

Only one on-line or distance education class can be counted each semester toward full-time equivalency.  The class is considered “on-line” or “distance education” if it does not require the student’s physical attendance in a classroom for classes, exams, or “other purposes integral to completion of the class.”  These include courses offered “principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission, including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.”