There are limited circumstances in which you may request an authorized Reduced Course Load (RCL) in a specific semester. To request an authorized Reduced Course Load, please contact your OISA advisor prior to dropping your class.

Initial Academic Difficulty

You may request an RCL if you are experiencing initial academic difficulties due to English-language difficulty, improper course level placement, or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.

This authorization can only be granted for one semester per F-1 program.

To request an authorized reduced course load based on academic difficulties:

  • Submit a written recommendation from a professor or academic advisor.
  • Letter must clarify why the reduced course load is necessary (citing English-language difficulty, improper course level placement, or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods).
  • Letter must be on Emerson letterhead, signed and dated.
  • Must be approved by your OISA advisor before dropping the class in question.

Illness Or Medical Condition

You may request an RCL if you have an illness or medical condition that prevents you from full-time study.

This authorization can be granted based on the recommendation of a medical professional. It can be granted for more than one semester, but cannot exceed 12 months of total time per F-1 program.

To request an authorized reduced course load based on illness or medical condition:

  • Submit a written recommendation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. (Note: F-1 regulations specify that the recommender must hold one of these professional credentials. Letters from medical professionals with other credentials may not be sufficient).
  • Letter must recommend that the student reduce their course load due to illness or medical condition, but does not need to provide details about the medical condition.
  • Letter must specify whether the recommendation is for part-time study or medical leave, and specify which semester of study is affected.
  • Letter must be on letterhead, signed, and dated, citing full name and medical credential of medical professional.
  • Must be approved by your OISA advisor before dropping the class in question.

Final Semester

You may request an RCL if you need fewer than 12 credits in your final semester (8 credits for graduate students) in order to graduate. Requires confirmation of expected graduation.