Full-Time Enrollment for Graduates

On This Page: Minimum Units RequiredEnrollment Requirements After Coursework CompletionNormal ProgressSummer and Winter Terms

Minimum Units Required

You must enroll full-time every fall and spring semester. The chart below shows the enrollment requirements before completing all required coursework for your program.

  Minimum In-Person or
Hybrid (Flex In-Person) Units

Minimum Total Units

Assistantship 3 units

6 units

No Assistantship 6 units

9 units

Review Full-Time Enrollment Exemption for information about dropping below full-time for final semester, medical conditions or academic difficulty.

Live Online and iCourses

  • If you are in F-1 status, only 1 class or 3 units count towards full-time enrollment each semester. You can enroll in more Live Online and iCourses beyond full-time.
  • If you are in J-1 status, you can only enroll in 1 online class total each semester.

Special Considerations for J-1 Exchange Students

  • Only 3 units of Independent Study count toward full-time enrollment. Submit a copy of the Independent Study plan to ISS.

Enrollment Requirements After Coursework Completion

After completing all required coursework, you can request to be considered full-time with fewer 900-level units (thesis, master’s report, dissertation, recital).

Eligibility for 3 units - If you have completed all coursework, you can request to be considered full-time with only 3 900-level units.

Eligibility for 1 unit - You can request to be considered full-time with only 1 900-level unit if you have:

  • Completed all coursework
  • Finished 18 units of dissertation (or equivalent) or the required number of thesis units
  • Passed your comprehensive exam (doctoral students)
  • Received Graduate College notification that you have advanced to candidacy (doctoral students)

Apply for Graduate Coursework Completion

Submit the Graduate Coursework Completion e-form before the start of the applicable semester:

  • Enter the name and email address for your academic department so they can confirm your degree completion date and eligibility for reduced units.

Normal processing time is 10 business days.

Enrolling in fewer units may affect your eligibility to receive university funding, assistantships and student employment. Check with your department for more information.

Normal Progress

You must make normal progress toward completing your degree. The minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) to maintain good standing with the university is 3.0, however, some programs may require a higher GPA. Talk to your academic department to learn about course and GPA requirements for your program.

Because of the requirement to make normal progress, there are limitations on certain grading options:

  • O Audit Grade (courses not taken for credit) - Does not count toward full-time enrollment
  • I Incomplete Grade - Counts toward full-time enrollment for the semester you were enrolled in the course. If you receive an Incomplete grade for a course in your final term, you cannot remain in the U.S. to finish the requirements without enrolling. Meet with an international student advisor to discuss options.

Summer and Winter Terms

You are not required to enroll in classes during the summer or winter unless you are beginning or ending your program then. Winter and summer courses do not count toward full-time enrollment for fall and spring semesters.

Students with I-20s Starting in Summer

If your I-20 starts in summer, you must enroll in at least 6 units during that session. The mode of delivery determines whether a course counts toward full-time enrollment:

  • In-Person and Hybrid (Flex In-Person) - Count toward full-time enrollment
  • Live Online and iCourses - Only 1 class or 3 units total count towards full-time enrollment

Completing in Summer or Winter

If you have not completed all required units, you must enroll in at least one in-person or flex in-person class in the last session of your final term. For example, if you complete your degree during the 7 Week Second session, you must register for at least 1 in-person or flex in-person unit during that session. If there are no in-person or flex in-person units available, you must meet with an international student advisor before your final term begins to discuss options.

If you have completed all required units for your program, you are not required to enroll for any thesis or dissertation units. Enrollment may be required if you need library privileges or plan to use other university facilities or need significant faculty time. For more information, review the Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Students policy.