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 are only approved for the following reasons:

Academic Reasons

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

Note: Academic RCL is only approved for one term per degree level, is typically only granted in the first quarter of attendance, and students must be enrolled in at least half the credits required for full-time.

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. The letter from the medical professional must have been issued within a month of the submission and must include their license number and be on the official letterhead. The only exception is letters from the UCSC Health Center, those must still be from one of the above professionals but can be on the Health Center form.

Medical RCL 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. If your health problems continue beyond one quarter, you will need more than one RCL.

Note: Students on a medical RCL should not be working on or off-campus during their medical RCL period

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.


Requesting a Reduced Course Load

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. You are 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.