Skip to main content
IUP artmark

Advising International Students

  • Dear Academic Advisor,

    It is a pleasure to offer a few suggestions for advising undergraduate international students and scholars attending IUP. We enroll over seven hundred international students and scholars from approximately eighty countries each academic year. From the intensive English program at the American Language Institute to doctoral programs in a range of disciplines, international students and scholars are a visible presence on our campus and, on occasion, require additional and specialized assistance. The following list is offered as additional information for you to assist with advising undergraduates, international students, and scholars.

    • Students are required, by federal law, to register for and complete a minimum of 12 credits each academic semester. However, if a student is encountering difficulties with English or the academic level of a course, s/he is permitted, with prior authorization from the Office of International Education (OIE), to drop below full-time status. Please advise students to contact the OIE to discuss their situation and to complete the “Reduced Course Load” application prior to dropping/withdrawing from any course(s) that will take them below 12 credits. If a student drops without prior authorization from the OIE, s/he will be considered out of status (illegal) with the federal government. This is something the OIE wants to avoid since the “reinstatement process” is costly for the student and not guaranteed.
    • In Summer, degree-seeking, international students are permitted to take off or study at IUP or another institution.
    • Students are limited, by federal regulations, to take only one on-line course per academic semester.
    • Only in extraordinary medical circumstances are students permitted to take off an academic semester. In such cases, the student must make an appointment with the OIE prior to withdrawing.
    • Taking off for a semester due to financial problems is not considered a legitimate reason by the federal government. Students are required to show financial support at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate before the issuance of a student visa.
    • A student is permitted to participate in an internship (paid or unpaid) provided it is an integral part of the curriculum, the student is enrolled for IUP internship credits, and s/he applies for and receives immigration permission prior to the start of the internship. Please direct students to the OIE for more details and application forms.
    • Students are eligible to apply for one year of work permission (Optional Practical Training – OPT) to begin following graduation. Please direct students to attend an OPT workshop at the OIE to find out more details.
    • Degree-seeking, international students are allowed and encouraged to participate in study abroad experiences offered by the OIE and faculty.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact:

    We are here to assist international students and scholars and to make their IUP experiences positive and rewarding.

    Best regards,

    Michele L. Petrucci, Ph.D.


    Office of International Education

    B25 Delaney Hall - 920 Grant Street