Reduced Course Load

If you need to reduce your course load to part-time, you must FIRST request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) from ISSS. This includes students who are planning to take a "W" grade in one or more of their classes.

RCLs may be approved for the limited reasons listed below:

Academic Reasons:

  • Improper course level placement
  • Initial difficulties with the English language
  • Initial difficulties with reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods

Students may only be approved for an academic RCL for one term per degree level. Students authorized for RCL for academic reasons must still be enrolled in at least half of the units required to be full-time. An academic RCL is typically only granted in your first term of attendance at UCSC.

Medical Reasons:

Students who have a documented illness or medical condition can request to reduce their course load or take a medical Leave of Absence for the quarter. The reduced enrollment must be recommended by a licensed U.S. medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist.

RCL for medical reasons can be approved for no more than a cumulative of 12 months per degree level. Approval for RCL will be given for one quarter at a time. This means that if your health problems continue beyond one quarter, you will need more than one RCL.

Final Term:

Students who are in their final quarter can request an RCL to only enroll in the number of units required to complete their degree. Please note that J-1 EAP students are not eligible for this reason.

How Do I Request a Reduced Course Load?

To apply for RCL, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Meet with your college / major / grad advisor to discuss dropping below full-time.
  2. If you are a J-1 EAP student, you must also contact your home institution and UCEAP.
  3. Submit a completed RCL Authorization Form and any supplemental documentation to an ISSS advisor.
  4. If approved, an ISSS advisor will add the authorization to your SEVIS record.
  5. The student is responsible for dropping the class.

Do not drop below full-time before you have received ISSS approval. Students who drop below full-time without ISSS approval may be considered in violation of their F-1 or J-1 status.  An approved RCL by ISSS is not the same as Part Time approval by the university. An approved RCL from ISSS does not change your tuition, please speak with your college or graduate advisor for questions regarding applying for Part Time with the university.