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Graduate Advising | SIS

Full-Time/Half-Time Certification

N.B. The Full-time certification is being discontinued entirely after the Spring 2013 semester. Only continuing students who matriculated prior to Summer 2012 will be given consideration for full-time certification during the 2012-13 academic year.

The US Department of Education defines full-time graduate study as 9 or more credits registered in a given fall or spring semester, and half-time graduate study as 4-8 credits. In a summer semester, 6 or more credits is considered to be full-time study, and 2-5 credits is considered half-time study.

In certain instances a graduate student may be certified as a half-time or a full-time student even if he/she is registered for fewer than 4 (in the case of half-time) or 9 (in the case of full-time) credits. In these cases, an academic advisor completes this certification (also know as an "in lieu of" form), provided that a student meets one or more of the qualifications (listed below).

A full-time (or half-time) certification signifies to the University that you are doing academic work above and beyond the credits that you've registered for that semester.

Why Does Full-Time (or Half-Time) Status Matter?

  • For an international student on an F-1 or J-1 visa, US immigration law requires that a student be registered as a full-time student each Fall and Spring semester
  • A domestic student must be at least half-time during the school year and/or summer to be eligible for federal financial aid or student loan deferment
  • Any student must be full-time to be automatically eligible for student health insurance coverage from the University

Do I qualify?

You qualify for a certification if you are registered for at least one credit of academic work and you meet one or more of the following conditions*:

  • You are preparing for and taking a comprehensive examination that semester
  • You are enrolled in language training courses and/or preparing to take the language exam
  • You are working on an MA thesis or other independent study/research and making satisfactory academic progress

Certifications for international students

In addition to the above reasons, an international student may qualify for a certification for the following reasons:

  • In your first semester you are experiencing initial difficulties with English, reading, and/or classes, or you are in a course that is at the wrong course level for you (in this case you must be registered for at least 6 credits)
  • You are prevented from pursuing a full-time courseload because of a medical condition and can furnish relevant documentation
  • You are in your last semester and do not need 9 credits to complete your degree

If I'm eligible, what do I need to do?

Contact your academic advisor. Only an academic advisor can prepare and submit the necessary paperwork for you to receive a full-time or half-time certification.

*A student cannot receive a full-time certification and receive financial aid if he/she is registered for SIS-099 Maintain Matriculation

Last Updated 30 July 2012