Online Course Enrollment
Online course enrollment is restricted for F-1 and J-1 students. Please read below for full details.
J-1 and ESL students must enroll in traditional on-campus courses to fulfill their minimum credit load for all required semesters.
Fall and Spring Semester Enrollment
F-1 students can count 3 online credits toward their full-time enrollment requirements during fall and spring semesters.
- Graduate students must enroll in 8 credits, and 5 of these credits must be in traditional, on-campus courses.
- Undergraduate students must enroll in 12 credits, and 9 of these credits must be in traditional on-campus courses.
F-1 students can take more than 3 online credits as long as they meet the minimum traditional on-campus course requirement for their academic program.
J-1 students must take traditional on-campus courses. No online courses may count toward a J-1 student’s full-time enrollment requirement. If a J-1 student has a required online course for their academic program, that student still must enroll in on-campus courses to meet the full-time enrollment requirement.
F-1 and J-1 students can enroll in online courses during summer IF:
- The student has been enrolled in at least the preceding spring semester full-time at UW-Madison
- The student will be enrolled in courses during the next fall semester full-time at UW-Madison
Summer term is a vacation period, and therefore it is optional for most continuing students.
Final Term of Study (Fall, Spring and Summer)
If an F-1 or J-1 student needs only one course to complete the program of study and the student intends to remain in the US, that course must be in a traditional on-campus format. This will allow the student to maintain their visa status and be eligible to apply for post-degree work opportunities if they choose to do so.
If an F-1 or J-1 student chooses to take online courses during their final semester, that student must contact ISS, complete a Leave of Absence form, and depart the US. In this case, a student will no longer be eligible for work authorizations such as Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1).
Impact on Post-degree Work Permission (OPT and AT)
If an F-1 or J-1 student wants to be eligible to participate in post-degree completion work opportunities such as Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1), the student’s final degree requirements must be taken in a traditional on-campus course.