Reduced Credit Load

Full-time Requirements and Exceptions

The School of Arts and Sciences is a full-time institution.  All students are required to enroll in at least 12 credits per semester to maintain full-time status, and are expected to enroll in 15 credits per semester in order to graduate in four years.

Students Eligible to Apply for a Reduced Credit Load

Students with Extenuating Medical Circumstances

  • Students with extenuating medical circumstances may apply for one semester of reduced credit load (below 12 credits).
  • Applicants must contact the Dean of Students before the SAS Office for Nontraditional Students and Special Populations can determine whether a reduced credit load is warranted.
  • Students will provide documentation of their medical condition to the Dean of Students, and consult with the Dean of Students to determine how many credits the student can reasonably carry. The Dean of Students will notify the SAS Nontraditional Deans which course(s) the student wishes to remove from their schedule
  • If approved, an SAS Nontraditional Dean will adjust the student’s registration.
  • Students must give careful consideration to how many credits they can carry successfully, since no additional credit reductions are possible after the initial registration reduction has been processed.
  • Approval for a reduced credit load is for one semester only. Students must contact the Dean of Students prior to the beginning of each new semester in which they wish to request a reduced credit load for medical reasons.

Students Exempted from the Full-time Requirement

Seniors in their final semester who need fewer than 12 credits to complete their degree

  • Seniors in their final semester who need fewer than 12 credits to graduate are exempted from the requirement of full-time enrollment and may register for just those credits needed to complete their degree. No request or application is needed.
  • Seniors will need to visit an SAS Advising Center in person during the first week of classes for a dean’s assistance to drop below 12 credits or to drop additional courses while already registered below 12 credits.
  • Seniors reducing their enrollment after the Last Day to Drop without a W will receive W grades for all withdrawn classes. No drops are permitted after the Last Day to Drop with a W, even if the credits are not needed. Consult the Drop and Withdrawal deadlines at Semester Calendar.
  • If reducing enrollment below 12 credits, only courses not needed for degree completion may be dropped or withdrawn.

Students officially designated as Nontraditional

Students may need to apply for official SAS nontraditional status.

  • The following documents must be included in the application for nontraditional status. Without this documented proof, students cannot qualify for a reduced credit load:
    1. a copy of your current 1040 tax return indicating that you claim yourself; and
    2. a signed, dated copy of your current lease showing your name, your landlord’s name and your monthly rental fee.
  • To apply for Nontraditional status, please email your name, RUID number and the required documentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • If approved for nontraditional status, students may register for fewer than 12 credits in any semester, or reduce their enrollment during the semester, without any further permission from SAS.For more information about Nontraditional status in SAS, visit our Nontraditional Students page.

Students Considered Independent by the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid

  • Students who receive financial aid under Independent status.
  • To verify your independent status, please email your request for nontraditional status to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Include your name, RUID number and a copy of your current award letter from the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid indicating your independent status.

Deadlines

Deadline to Request A Reduced Credit Load

Requests for reduced credit loads (below 12 credits) must be made before the beginning of the semester. Any requests made after the semester has commenced will be considered for the following semester.

Deadline to Drop below 12 Credits

All credit reductions must be made in person at an SAS Advising Center before the Last Day to Drop without a W. After that deadline, it is no longer possible to drop below 12 credits or to make any additional credit reductions that result in a reduction of tuition

Tuition and Fees below 12 Credits

See Office of Student Accounting website for specific fees and reductions.

Cautions for Students Considering Reduced Credit Loads

Students registered for fewer than 12 credits are considered part-time students under University regulations and federal law. Hence, the decision to register for fewer than 12 credits can affect visa status and eligibility for important University services such as financial aid, health insurance, campus housing, scholarships, etc.  Students are urged to consult the appropriate University offices for information before applying for a reduced credit load.  Please see the specific cautions below:

Students on Academic Warning or Academic Probation

Students on Academic Warning or Academic Probation should meet with an SAS Advising Dean to consider whether enrolling in fewer than 12 credits will jeopardize their ability to meet academic standards, even if they qualify for reduced enrollment.

International Students

International Students are required to maintain full-time enrollment of at least 12 credits, except potentially in their final semester before graduation. Additional information can be found on the Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services website.

Students with Merit-based Scholarships

Recipients of University merit-based scholarships considering enrolling in fewer than 12 credits are required to contact the SAS Scholarship Office to ensure continuance of their scholarship. Requests for a scholarship review should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information:

  • Name
  • RUID
  • Name of merit-based scholarship(s)

Students receiving Financial Aid

Students receiving financial aid should consult with the Office of Financial Aid to determine how much their aid will be reduced as a result of their reduced credit load, and how their tuition and other semester fees may be affected by viewing the Office of Student Accounting website.

Students on Academic Plans for Financial Aid

Students currently following an Academic Plan for Financial Aid should consult with the SAS Advising Dean who helped them prepare and submit it, to see whether registering for fewer than 12 credits will violate their plan and render them ineligible to receive aid in future semesters.

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