Ohio University

University Departments: Academic Information

International Student Basics for Departments

Visa types

Ohio University has permission from the US government to sponsor two types of student visas. The F-1 visa is the most common type of student visa. The J-1 visa is often used by students who are financially sponsored by their government, or for students participating in an exchange program. OHIO sends visa paperwork to a newly admitted student, and the student uses that paperwork to request a visa stamp in their passport.

Program appropriateness

Federal regulations place many limitations on both visa categories, and as a result, not every program at OHIO will be able to bring students on an F-1 or J-1 visa. Students are expected to study full-time, and to have a physical presence on campus. Online programs and Part-time programs are not appropriate for these students. In general, Hybrid programs are not compatible with either status. However, if a hybrid program has a very strong in-person component, ISFS and the Graduate College can review for suitability.

Travel Concerns

For some students, traveling outside of the US can be a stressful, and even risky experience. The U.S. State Department issues visas of different lengths to different students. Sometimes the visa does not last as long as the academic program. In that scenario, if a student travels abroad they must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy. While it is not common for a continuing student to be denied a visa, there is always a risk of denial. Without that visa, the student may not return to the country to resume their degree.

If you find that a student has concerns about traveling overseas, please encourage them to come talk with an ISFS advisor.

F-1 Visa Details

Full-time Enrollment Requirements

  • Undergraduate students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits every fall and spring semester.
  • Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of 9 credits every fall and spring semester.
  • If a student begins a new program in the summer, they must enroll full-time that summer. (Future summers are optional.)
  • Only 3 online credits can count towards the full-time enrollment. (Once the 12 or 9 credit requirement has been met, the student can register for additional online classes.)
  • Graduate students enrolled in an FTE (Full-time equivalency) course are considered to be enrolled full-time. The course must be identified as FTE by the Registrar’s office.

Reduced Enrollment Options

Federal regulations strictly limit the circumstances in which an F-1 student can enroll less than full-time. A student must get permission from ISFS before pursuing any of these options.

  • Academic Difficulties This option may only be used one time during the program. Students must keep at least half of the required credits. This option is only available if the department confirms that one of the following circumstances applies:
  • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods (Generally limited to the first semester only)
  • Initial difficulties with the English language (Generally limited to the first semester only)
  • Initial difficulties with the reading requirements (Generally limited to the first semester only)
  • Improper course level placement
  • Final Semester If a student is in the final semester of their academic program, they are only required to take the credits that are necessary to finish their degree. Please note that the online limits still apply, and if only one course is required, it cannot be online.
  • Medical Recommendation A student can be authorized to enroll in reduced or 0 credits if a licensed doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist recommends it. There is a 12 month cumulative limit per degree level on this option.

Employment options

Federal regulations limit a student’s ability to be employed. The following are some basic details about employment options available to F-1 students.

  • On-Campus Employment Students may work on campus for OHIO university jobs. During the fall and spring semesters, they cannot work more than 20 hours per week. During breaks, the standard student employment limitations apply.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) ISFS may issue off-campus work authorization for students pursuing work that is an integral part of their degree program. The work must be related to the student’s major. There are 3 ways students may qualify:
  • The student’s program of study requires the work experience of every student.
  • The student is enrolled in an internship course and the credits will count towards the degree.
  • A graduate student needs a work experience to contribute directly and substantially to a dissertation, thesis, or thesis-equivalent project. Additional documentation is required.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) Students may apply directly to the US government for permission to work off-campus in a position that is related to their major area of study. Most students will save this option to use after graduation. It takes the government approximately 90 days to process these requests.

J-1 Visa Details

Full-time Enrollment Requirements

  • Undergraduate students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits every fall and spring semester.
  • Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of 9 credits every fall and spring semester.
  • If a student begins a new program in the summer, they must enroll full-time that summer. (Future summers are optional.)
  • No online credits can count towards the full-time enrollment. (Students are not prohibited from enrolling in online classes, as long as they have met the in-person credit requirement.)
  • Graduate students enrolled in an FTE (Full-time equivalency) course are considered to be enrolled full-time. The course must be identified as FTE by the Registrar’s office.

Reduced Enrollment Options

Federal regulations strictly limit the circumstances in which an J-1 student can enroll less than full-time. A student must get permission from ISFS before pursuing any of these options.

  • Academic Difficulties The student will need a recommendation from the academic department
  • Final Semester If a student is in the final semester of their academic program, they are only required to take the credits that are necessary to finish their degree.
  • Medical Recommendation A student can be authorized to enroll in reduced or 0 credits if a licensed doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist recommends it.

Employment options

Federal regulations limit a student’s ability to be employed. The following are some basic details about employment options available to J-1 students.

  • On-Campus Employment Students may work on campus for OHIO university jobs. During the fall and spring semesters, they cannot work more than 20 hours per week. During breaks, the standard student employment limitations apply. Students must receive authorization from ISFS before beginning employment.
  • Academic Training ISFS may grant students permission to work off-campus for work that is related to their degree. The academic department must support the request. Students may use this option during or after their academic program.