Reduced Course Load

Because of the inherently rigorous nature of the academic program, ordinarily, the minimum number of courses required for students at the College at the University of Chicago is 3 per quarter. In the following two circumstances, however, a student can petition the Dean of Students for a reduced load:

Student Disability Services (SDS) Approved Reduced Load

Students can petition to enroll in a reduced load of 2 courses in a quarter if the student has the proper support from the Student Disability Services (SDS). In order to petition students must go through the established SDS protocol to apply for accommodations. Students who receive SDS approval for a 2 course load can then petition the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. Students granted permission to enroll at a reduced rate will be considered full-time students for the purposes of financial aid, housing, and for other offices internal to the University, and the student will be assessed regular fees as well as room and board, although tuition will be assessed on the 2-course rate.

No student will be allowed to enroll in fewer than 2 courses except as noted below.

Final Quarter of Enrollment

Graduating students in their final quarter of enrollment may petition the Office of the Dean of Students to have a reduced load of only 1 or 2 courses. Such an exception will only be granted by the Dean of Students when those courses will complete the remaining degree requirements necessary for graduation. Such students will be considered part-time and will pay the appropriate per-course rate.

Students wishing to apply for reduced course load status in their final quarter should speak with their adviser early in their final year and submit a completed petition to the adviser before the end of the first week of the student’s final quarter. Students who need more than 2 courses to graduate will not be eligible for this status.

Students wishing to enroll in a reduced course load for their final quarter should keep in mind that a reduced status might affect the student’s eligibility for housing and financial aid.

The National Student Clearing House

At the end of third week, the Registrar reports the registration status of every student in the University to the National Student Clearing House. These data are subsequently used by various agencies to verify eligibility for financial aid, student loan deferments, etc. Therefore it is critical that the Clearing House receive accurate data. To ensure that your status is reported correctly, you should check your registration at the end of third week through Students who are required to remain full-time for visa or financial aid eligibility risk serious consequences due to incorrect enrollment status.

Full Load to Reduced Load Status

If a student wishes to switch from a full load of 3 or 4 courses to a reduced load, as noted above, the student will need to petition for permission to do so. The student should complete the general petition form and send it to the student’s College adviser before Friday of the first week to discuss the effect on the student’s degree program. If a student is enrolled in fewer than 3 classes at the end of add/drop without prior approval, the student  will be placed on leave from the College (see the Involuntary Leave of Absence policy.)

Students who have been approved for a reduced load may continue to add and drop courses through the end of third week. However, if a student is registered for 3 or 4 classes at the end of add/drop period, the student will be automatically reverted to full-time status (without notification).

Reduced Load to Full Load Status

There is no formal process to switch from a reduced course load to a full load. Simply register for 3 or 4 classes.

Information for Part-time Students

Graduating seniors in their final quarter of study who have been approved for a reduced course load will be considered part-time students. Such students should keep in mind the following:

  • Part-time students retain access to University facilities and services.
  • Participation in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) remains unchanged, although students with private health insurance should investigate changes to coverage before switching to part-time status.
  • Students receiving financial aid and certain scholarships generally must remain full-time. Questions about financial aid should be directed to the Office of College Aid.
  • International students must remain in full-time status. Questions about student status and its effect on your visa should be directed to the Office of International Affairs well in advance of the proposed change of status.
  • Tuition rates vary by number of courses. See the Bursar’s website for the breakdown of tuition rates.

Student status certification

Students may request Enrollment Certifications through Students who encounter problems with this procedure should contact the Office of the University Registrar at 773-702-7891 or