Medical Reduced Course Load


A Medical Reduced Course Load permits F-1 and J-1 students to reduce their course load below full-time (or, if necessary, not enroll in any courses) due to a student's temporary illness or medical condition.  A maximum of 12 months of Medical Reduced Course Load is possible per degree level. Medical Reduced Course Loads are issued on a semester basis. If more than one semester of a Reduced Course Load due to medical condition is needed, the student must submit a new doctor’s letter for the additional semester(s).

In order to authorize a Medical Reduced Course Load, the student must provide medical documentation from one of the following U.S. licensed medical practitioners:

  • Medical Doctor (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.)
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist; OR
  • Psychiatrist

Letters signed by practitioners other than one of the medical professionals noted above are not acceptable, per US immigration regulations. 

Medical Leave of Absence

A Medical Reduced Course Load (when approved by a Designated School Official) allows you to remain in the U.S. and maintain your F-1 status while seeking medical treatment inside the U.S. 

If you cannot register for any classes due to a medical condition, you should also apply for a Medical Leave of Absence from UB. To apply for it, you will need to meet with your Academic Advisor as well as an International Student Advisor.

If you request a Medical Reduced Course Load for zero credits your doctor’s letter must state that you cannot register for classes (see example below).

Eligibility Requirements

Students who need a Reduced Course Load must submit a complete application including their letter from a medical professional (explained above) to ISS before the end of the Add/Drop period.

If a student is enrolled full-time and realizes after the Add/Drop period that they need a Medical Reduced Course Load, they may also apply. However, students must maintain full-time enrollment until ISS approves the Medical Reduced Course Load.

Graduate students with Assistantships (TAs, RAs, GAs) are not eligible for a Reduced Course Load. UB policy requires 9 credits of registration or Full-time Certification to be eligible for TA, RA or GA appointments. Please consult with the Graduate School in 408 Capen if you have questions about this requirement. 

Medical Letter Template

To apply for a Medical Reduced Course Load you must request a letter from your medical provider following the format below. The letter must be on letterhead and include the signature of the medical professional, along with their title.

If you cannot take any courses due to a medical condition, your doctor’s letter must state this. See sample below.

Medical Doctor Reduced Course Load Template Letter




International Student Services

University at Buffalo

210 Talbert Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260


To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is to inform you of my recommendation that student [STUDENT’S NAME], [STUDENT’S DOB], be placed on a reduced course load for the [FALL or SPRING] [YEAR] semester due to medical reasons that prevent them from being a full-time student at this time [OR] that prevent them from taking any courses during this semester.




Application Submission

After receiving a letter from a doctor, follow the directions below to submit your application:

  1. Log in to UB Global.  Click on the “LOGIN” button, and enter your UBIT Name and Password. 
  2. Click on “F-1 Student Services” and then “Medical Reduced Course Load”. Complete the entire e-form and upload a copy of your doctor's letter. 

REMEMBER: Do not drop or resign below full-time until ISS approves the Reduced Course Load request. ISS will make a decision on the request (approve or deny), and will notify the student of our decision via email. Check our e-form processing page for current processing times.

Once approved by ISS, this Reduced Course Load cannot be canceled.