Making Changes to Your Program of Study

There may be times throughout your studies where you will need to change your major, change your education level, apply for an extension, take courses at a different institution, or request to drop below full-time status. For more information about these program changes, read below:

Change of Education Level

If you are accepted to another USF program and want to change your level of education (for example: undergraduate to graduate), you will need to contact your admission office for your new I-20.

If you plan to engage in OPT in-between your degrees, you should speak with your ISSS advisor about your plans to ensure that your OPT will not impact your Change of Education Level. 

Change of Major

If you want to change your major, you need to fill out a Change of Academic Program form first. To obtain a form please visit the Office of the Registrar forms page and submit it to the Registrar.

Once your record has been processed, your record will be automatically sent to ISSS office. We will be able to issue a new I-20 with your new major once your new major is showing in your student record. ISSS will create a new I-20 for change of major automatically and contact students when the I-20 is available for download in MyISSS.

If you submit your form to Student Enrollment Services after each semester’s census date, your new major won’t show in our system until the following semester, which means we will not be able to issue your new I-20 right away. Please contact the ISSS office if you submitted your major change to Student Enrollment Services before the census date of the current semester, and you have not heard from ISSS about your new I-20.

Concurrent Enrollment

International students are eligible to take courses at another institution as long as you still meet USF's standards for a full-time course load. There are two ways to do this:

  1. If you are enrolled full-time at USF for your program and just want to take additional courses at another school, then you can take courses at another school without any risk to your immigration status. The other school may ask for you to provide a letter showing that you are full-time at USF, and ISSS is happy to write this for you.
  2. If you are taking classes at another U.S institution and you want to transfer those credits back to USF as being part of your full-time enrollment, you need to provide ISSS with proof that your department has approved the credits to transfer back to USF and proof that you are enrolled in the course at the other school. ISSS will be able to issue you a letter stating that your full-time status is being maintained as long as you have the credits transferred at the end of the term.

Program Extension

International student are expected to complete their degree in the time specified on their Certificate of Eligibility (I-20/DS-2019). If you need additional time to complete your program, ISSS recommends making an appointment with an advisor. Keep in mind that not all reasons for program extensions are acceptable, and it is best to discuss these plans with an ISSS advisor as early as possible. When you are ready to apply for a program extension, please follow steps below. 

Program Extension form: Meet with your academic advisor first. They need to provide your new program end date, how many units you need to complete your program and other important information. This information will be submitted via MyISSS.

Bank Statement: Please contact ISSS office once your academic advisor filled out the Program Extension form. ISSS will tell you how much money you need to provide in order to extend your I-20. The bank statement should be in English, but does not need to be in USD. If you are not the bank account holder, you need to provide an additional letter, signed by your sponsor, to clarify that they are willing to sponsor your study at USF.

Please make sure you complete your program extension request at least one month before your I-20 program end date. Once your I-20 expired, ISSS will not be able to extend your I-20.

Reduced Course Load

In order to be considered full-time, international students must be enrolled each semester as listed below. Any F-1 or J-1 student who drops below full-time enrollment without prior authorization of the ISSS office is considered to be in violation of his/her U.S. immigration status. The only times a student can request to drop below full-time is if:

  1. It is the student's final term and less units are needed to complete the degree
  2. The student has an academic reason that is outside of their control
  3. The student has a medical reason that disables them from attending full-time

To request authorization to reduce your course load, submit a request via MyISSS. For a Reduced Course Load for reasons 2 and 3 above, proper documentation from an academic advisor or licensed medical professional in the United States (licensed medical doctor, psychiatrist, doctor of osteopathy, licensed psychologist, or clinical psychologist) is needed.


Undergraduate students: 12 units
Masters level students: 6 units
Doctoral level students: 6 units
LLM students: 10 units
JD students: 12 units