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On-line Courses for International Students



The use of on-line courses is a growing and integral part of most universities' academic curriculum. This is also true at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU). Please be aware that the Department of Homeland Security requires F-1 students to maintain a full course of study and that the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective. At Southwest Minnesota State University a full course of study is defined as: 12 credit each semester for undergraduate students and 18 credit hours per academic year for graduate students.

F-1 students who are taking classes that do not require him/her to be physically present on campus for an exam, class meeting or other purposes relating to the class can count only one online class (3 credits) per semester toward the full course of study requirement.

This means that if an undergraduate student is enrolled for 12 credits, only 3 credits may be online credits (3 - 3 credits courses [9 credits] in class + 1 - 3 credit course [3 credits] online = 12 credits). However, if the student is taking more than 12 credits, she/he may take additional credits on line (9 credits in class + 3 credits online = 12 [full course of study requirement met]+ 6 additional credits online = 18 total credits). A student who takes 6 credits in class and 6 credits online would be in violation of full course of study requirement and would lose their F-1 status and will have to apply for reinstatement with the Department of Homeland Security.
STUDENTS IN THEIR LAST SEMESTER AND HAVE ONLY ONE COURSE LEFT, MUST TAKE THAT COURSE ON CAMPUS. The key to this rule is “physical presence on campus” which falls in line with the regulations governing F-1 students. If you are in your last semester, please do not plan on taking an online course and moving away from Southwest Minnesota State University.

As always, if you have any questions, see Don Robertson at International Student Services.


Keys to Status:
You are in the United States on an F-1 Student Visa. Your sole purpose is to obtain a U.S. education as a full time graduate student. As part of that education you will have an opportunity to gain work experience, but under very strict conditions and only during a restrictive, program approved internship and/or after you have graduated. In addition to work restrictions, the following are 3 items are important considerations in maintaining your F-1 student status.

Full time status:
As a graduate student, you must complete 18 credits each year.
There are also limits on the number of on-line courses you may take each semester. As an international student, you are REQUIRED to adhere to the limitations set by SEVIS and USCIS on on-line courses. SMSU's MBA program is set up to adhere to these requirements.

You are allowed to take only 1 (one), 3 (three ) credit on-line course each semester in meeting your 18 credit minimum. Because there are NO ON-CAMPUS courses offered in the summer, an F1 international student MUST take 9 credits Fall semester and 9 credits Spring semesters. For each semester, the minimum you must enroll for are: 1 three credit course on-line and 2 three credit in-class courses. Once you meet these minimal requirements, you are eligible to take additional on-line courses. In other words, you MUST REGISTER FOR 2 IN-CLASS REQUIRED COURSES FOR 4 SEMESTERS (Year one: Fall, Spring. Year two: Fall and Spring). SUMMER SESSIONS CAN NOT COUNT TOWARD YOUR 18 MINIMUM BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE ON CAMPUS COURSES.

Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer

Year one:

MBA 607 (on campus)
MBA 609 (on campus)
Elective (on line)

Year one:

MBA 606 (on campus)
MBA 660 (on campus)
Elective (on line)

Any additional
courses are optional

Year two:

MBA 681 (on campus)
MBA 684 (on campus)
Elective (on line)

Year two:

MBA 670 (on campus)
MBA 685 (on campus)
Elective (on line)


Congratulations, you should be graduated!

It is important that you work closely with your academic advisor and Ms. Dahlager in registering in a timely manner -- doing so ensures that you will be enrolled for the required and elective classes needed for full time status.

Last Modified: 9/9/22 9:47 AM | Website Feedback