F-1 and J-1 student visa holders are required to enroll full-time on the campus which issued their I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1). There are restrictions on how many online credits can count toward minimum full-time enrollment requirements. Students studying only online are not able to enter or remain in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student.
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Fall and Spring Semester Enrollment
Full-time enrollment during the Fall and Spring Semesters is required. The minimum full-time credit load by program of study are listed below, including federal limitations on online enrollment.
Fall/Spring Semester Enrollment Requirements
|wdt_ID||Student Classification||Minimum total credits||Minimum "in-person" or "hybrid" credits||Maximum online/remote credits to count toward full-time enrollment|
|4||Graduate w/ TA/PA 33.3%||6||3||3|
|5||Graduate w/ TA/PA50%||4||1||3|
|6||Graduate w/ RA 33-50%||8||5||3|
|Student Classification||Minimum total credits||Minimum "in-person" or "hybrid" credits||Maximum online/remote credits to count toward full-time enrollment|
Graduate students should get familiar with Graduate School policies as listed on the website.
Professional program full-time enrollment requirements may vary. Students in a professional program should confirm the minimum full-time enrollment requirement each semester with their program coordinator.
For J-1 Students: One online course can count towards full-time enrollment.
Summer enrollment is generally not required for continuing students (that is, students who enrolled full-time for the Spring semester and intend to enroll full-time for the Fall semester). However, there are two important exceptions which require summer enrollment.
- Summer program start date: If you start your academic program at UW-Madison in the summer, you must enroll full-time during that semester. This includes students who are returning from a break in their studies and returning to resume studies during summer. In-person/hybrid course enrollment is required.
Summer 2023 Approved Start Dates
|Start Date||Program||Session Code*||Session Dates||#Wks||Minimum Full-time Credits|
|May 22||Accelerated BS Nursing||ZNN||5/22–8/27||14||13 credits (Undergraduate only)|
|June 5||Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies||BBB+
|1 (BBB) + 7 (DHH) = 8 (Graduate only)|
|June 5||Occupational Therapy Doctorate||BII||6/5–8/6||10||9 (Graduate only)|
|June 5||MS Curriculum & Instruction||BLL||6/5–8/27||13||4 (Graduate only)|
|June 12||MS Athletic Training||CHH||6/12–8/6||8||8 (Graduate only)|
|June 19||Any||DHH||6/19–8/13||7||6 (Undergraduate)
|July 17||ITA Training
|4||2 (Graduate only)|
|July 31||International Student Summer Institute (ISSI)
Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch
Electrical & Computer Engineering Summer Launch
|JDD||7/31–8/27||4||3 (Undergraduate only)|
2. Summer program end date: If you will complete your enrollment requirements during the summer term, you must enroll in UW-Madison in-person/hybrid credits. During summer, you must take the course(s) that are required to complete your program of study. If your required credits are less than the full-time enrollment minimum, you must submit a Reduced Course Load for final semester.
Students considering completion of final work while abroad or through another institution must discuss this matter with ISS as there are serious consequences for F-1 and J-1 status and benefits.
You may have institutional obligations that require you to enroll during summer, such as:
- Your academic program requires summer enrollment.
- Your award (such as a fellowship) or employment (such as a graduate assistantship) requires summer enrollment.
Online Course Enrollment
Please see our Online Course Enrollment page for details before you take online courses.