University of Houston-Victoria

International Programs


Requesting a Reduced Course Load

A student may request a reduced course load (RCL) if the reason meets the criteria outlined by immigration regulations.  Acceptable reasons are listed below.  A request must be supported by a student’s academic adviser and pre-approved by International Programs Office (IPO).  Dropping below a full course of study without PRIOR approval from IPO results in a loss of legal status and the loss of both on and off campus employment eligibility.

Steps for Requesting a RCL

  1. First meet with an International Programs Office advisor to check your eligibility for a Reduce Course Load (RCL) application
  2. You must meet with your academic adviser to discuss your situation BEFORE submitting an RCL. Your academic adviser cannot approve your request before having this discussion. Failure to meet with your adviser may cause serious delays in processing your request.
  3. Based on your adviser’s recommendation, IPO will either approve or deny your request. You will receive an email notifying you of the decision.
  4. If you select reason #3 (Medical Reason), a recommendation from your academic adviser is not required. Instead, submit a letter from you doctor to IPO along with the RCL form. You can submit both the letter from the doctor and RCL form to IPO. Allow 2-3 business days for IPO to work on your RCL

Acceptable Reasons For A Reduced Course Load

  1. Final Semester and Less than a Full Course Load is Needed to Complete Student's Program of Study
    • For undergraduate and Master's level students in coursework only and who will complete their degree at the end of the semester for which the reduced course load is requested.
    • Students must be registered for at least one in-person course during their final semester.
  2. Academic Difficulty due to:
  1. Improper course level placement
  2. Initial difficulty with English language or reading requirements
  3. Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
    • If a student fears the possibility of doing poorly in a course but their situation is not reflected by one of the 3 reasons listed above, they are not eligible for a RCL based on academic difficulty.
    • Academic difficulty may be used one time (one semester) per degree level
    • Students must maintain half-time enrollment (at least 3 credits for graduate and 6 for undergraduate students) during the semester of reduced course load.
  1. Medical Reason
    • Limited to 12 months of reduced course load per degree level.
    • Requires a supporting letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist. The letter does not need to state the specific medical condition, but must indicate that the condition requires less than full-time enrollment.
  2. Either Working on Thesis or Dissertation or Preparing for Preliminary Examinations.
    • For graduate students who have completed required coursework.

Reasons Unacceptable for a Reduced Course Load

  • Financial difficulties
  • Medical illness of family member
  • Child care issues
  • Preparing for GMAT, GRE, CPA, or similar exams
  • Suspension from academic program
  • Working on incompletes from a previous semester
  • Auditing courses