International Graduate Student Policies

Full-time Enrollment Requirements

A full-time degree-seeking graduate student must take at least 9 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters. A half-time load is defined as enrolled in at least 4.5 credit hours in fall and spring terms. During the summer term, full-time is 6 credit hours and half-time is 3 credit hours. There are two exceptions to this policy:

  1. For master's students pursuing a thesis option, full-time enrollment is defined as 3 hours per semester (including summers, without skipping a semester) of thesis course work (XXX 6971), after completion of all course work and until graduation. Students who wish to enroll in part-time hours should consult their adviser.
  2. For doctoral students who have passed the candidacy exam and are registered for doctoral dissertation (XXX 7980) hours only, full-time is 3 hours per semester until graduation. Such students must continue to enroll in at least three dissertation hours each semester (including summers, without skipping a semester) until they successfully complete the dissertation and graduate. Students who wish to enroll in part-time hours should consult their adviser.

Graduate students receiving assistantships, tuition support, and fellowships must be enrolled full-time as degree-seeking students who maintain good academic progress.

Special Considerations

All international students on F or J visas must maintain full-time, degree-seeking status, regardless of financial support received from the university. F and J visa holders should contact the International Services Center (ISC) to ensure that their enrollment conforms to the full-time definition for their visa status. International students should not change their course schedule or drop classes without advisement from the International Services Center. All international students who enroll in less than 9 hours per term must submit to ISC a Reduced Course Load Form that explains the nature of the reduced hours and must obtain approval from ISC (see www.intl.ucf.edu for Reduced Course Load Form). This requirement also applies to international students who are enrolled in less than 9 hours per term in thesis or dissertation hours.

Students who do not satisfy these full-time enrollment requirements will not qualify for graduate assistantships, fellowships or tuition support.

International Student Employment

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations, graduate students who are on an F-1 or J-1 visa may accept employment on campus without prior USCIS approval as long as students are enrolled full-time and employment does not interfere with their studies.

Graduate students who desire to engage in off-campus employment must be approved by the International Services Center (ISC) for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) prior to beginning the employment. CPT is defined as employment that is an integral part of the established curriculum and can be in the form of an internship or cooperative educational experience. In order to qualify for CPT, there are several requirements that must be met. Please speak with an adviser at the ISC for more information on these requirements and prior to engaging in off-campus employment.

During the fall and spring semesters, on-campus employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. During the summer, on-campus employment may be up to 40 hours per week. (Please note that all graduate assistants during the summer must enroll in a full-time course load.) Employment may also be up to 40 hours per week during vacation or other break periods. Please speak with an adviser at the ISC for clarification of these policies.

On-campus employment is not permitted after completion of the program of study, unless the student is issued a Form I-20A-B to begin a new program and intends to enroll in the next regular academic term or session.

Students who received a bachelor's degree at one school and will start a master's degree or PhD at UCF are eligible to work during the summer at UCF as long as a Form I-20A-B was issued for the new master's or PhD program.

International students on an F-1 visa are eligible to apply for one year of optional practical training (OPT) after completion of their program.

For more information about the employment of international students, contact the International Services Center at 407-823-2337 or visit the office to speak with an adviser.

English-speaking Ability for Graduate Teaching Associates and Assistants

Students who plan to serve as graduate teaching associates or assistants (GTAs) and for whom English is a second language are required to pass the SPEAK test. The SPEAK test evaluates an individual's English-speaking skills. This requirement applies to all students from countries where English is not the native language; however, such students will be exempt if they have completed a previous degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, from a country where English is the only official language, or from a university at which English is the only official language of instruction, or they have received a score of 26 or higher on the Speak portion of the ibt TOEFL. Only exempted students and those who have attended the UCF GTA Training and satisfactorily passed the evaluation of their English-speaking skills may be assigned as GTAs.

For more information about this requirement and the free English-speaking training that the university provides, see "English-speaking Ability for Graduate Teaching" in the Assistantships section of this graduate catalog. See Graduate Teaching in the UCF Graduate Student Handbook for Information on registering for GTA Training and SPEAK testing.  

International Visiting Scholars

The following policy and procedures allow departments to invite international visitors to study, teach, or participate in research activities at UCF. The policy is directed to those who do not wish to earn a degree, but who may audit courses in the postbaccalaureate, nondegree-seeking status for professional development and who normally have complete financial support provided by some outside agency. These visiting scholars will have J-1 visa status and use the Professor, Research Scholar, or Specialist category as permitted by immigration regulations. Visitors seeking degrees will use regular UCF admission procedures and must enter the United States using the F-1 or J-1 visa student category.

Visiting scholars who are required to audit courses at UCF must fill out the UCF application for admission as a nondegree student and pay the application fee. The deadline is about four months before the beginning of a term. A faculty member, as Faculty Sponsor, must accept the responsibility for recommending, advising, and directing the activities of the scholar. The procedure for extending an invitation to a prospective scholar is as follows:

  1. If financial support will be provided to the visiting scholar using university resources, then the approval of the university must be obtained on all correspondence with the visiting scholar. Written arrangements should be made with the Vice President for Research for financial support prior to invitations to visiting scholars.
  2. The Department Chair will submit a recommendation to the Dean specifying the Faculty Sponsor, documenting anticipated activities, and providing the following information on the Visiting Scholar:
    1. Date of birth
    2. City and country of birth
    3. Country of residence if different from country of birth
    4. Place of work (academic institution, business firm, etc.)
    5. Current position held in country of residence
    6. Academic background
    7. Professional experience
    8. Source and amount of financial support (recommended honorarium, if any)
    9. English proficiency
    10. Dates of visit
    11. Statement of how the Visiting Scholar will participate in research and what will be accomplished
    12. Office space, equipment, etc. which will be required for scholar's use
  3. If arrangements are approved, the Dean will notify the Vice President for Research that the College is extending an invitation. The Chair's recommendation will be included with the notification. These will be sent to the UCF College of Graduate Studies so that the invitation and application may be placed in the visiting scholar's official university file.
  4. The UCF College of Graduate Studies will then forward copies of the information to the International Services Center. Upon receipt and verification of the required documents, a Form DS-2019 for the purpose of the J-1 visa application J-1 Visa will be issued.
  5. The Faculty Sponsor will then correspond with the visitor detailing the conditions of the visit, including whatever limited financial support and facilities will be provided and what is expected of the Scholar, with copies of this correspondence sent to the International Services Center and the Vice President for Research. The Scholar will be asked to write a brief report at the termination of the visit.
  6. All visiting scholars should report to the International Services Center directly upon arrival at UCF to ensure that their immigration documents are in order.

During each academic term of the visit, the Visiting Scholar may be required to audit one hour of XXX 6918, Directed Research, under the direction of the Faculty Sponsor and also may be permitted (or required) to audit regular courses. The Visiting Scholar will be admitted to postbaccalaureate status and will audit courses as directed and approved by the Faculty Sponsor. The Visiting Scholar will not be permitted to take courses for credit unless formally admitted to a degree program or upon written approval from the Dean of the college in which the student is studying.

The international visiting scholar will be appointed Visiting Research Scholar or Visiting Scholar in the College and may be given a modest honorarium. Such scholars will normally not be maintained on the College payroll, but are expected to have extended financial support.

Linkage Agreements

The State of Florida has established various linkage agreements to assist in the development of stronger economic and social ties between Florida and strategic foreign countries. Linkage Institutes are set up throughout the state and provide out-of-state tuition exemption to scholars from the foreign countries represented by the institutes. To participate in these exemptions, students must apply to the Linkage Institute for the country in which they reside to receive an out-of-state tuition award. Students participating are required to return home after their tenure of graduate study for a length of time equal to the exemption period. Each institute develops its own criteria for selection of students and typically supports the out-of-state fees for about 20 to 30 scholars a year. The institutes established in Florida are listed below with their contact persons.

Florida-Brazil Institute

Center for Latin American Studies
University of Florida
319 Grinter Hall
P.O. Box 115530
Gainesville, FL 32611-5530
Tel: (352) 392-0375 ext. 800
Fax: (352) 392-7682
Web Address: http://www.floridabrazil.org/

Florida-Canada Institute

Lisa Lomitola
Office of International Studies
University of Central Florida
3000 Central Florida Blvd, MH 150
Orlando, FL 32826-3105
Phone: (407) 823-3647 Fax: (407) 882-0240
E-mail: fcli@ucf.edu
Web Address: www.international.ucf.edu/fcli

Florida-Caribbean Institute

Christine Jarchow
Latin American & Caribbean Center
Florida International University
DM-353 University Park, Miami, FL 33199
Phone: (305) 348-1913 Fax: (305) 348-3593
E-mail: jarchowc@fiu.edu
Web Address: casgroup.fiu.edu/lacc/pages.php?id=1027

Florida-China Institute

Dr. Miriam Stamps
Chair of Marketing Department
College of Business
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., BSN 30403, Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: (813) 974-6205 Fax: (813) 974-6175
E-mail: mstamps@coba.usf.edu

*Tuition Exemption Office
Dr. Henry Chen
University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway
International House Bldg. 71, Room 117, Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
Phone: (850) 474-2665 Fax: (850) 474-2915
E-mail: hchen@uwf.edu

Francine Arrington
Director of International Services
Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922
Phone: (321) 433-7342
E-mail: arringtonf@brevard.cc.fl.us
Web Address: www.uwf.edu/fcli/

Florida-Costa Rica Institute

*Tuition Exemption Office
Joan Cassels
International Programs Office
Florida State University
A5529 UCA, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2420
Phone: (850) 644-7823 Fax: (850) 644-8817
E-mail: jcassels@admin.fsu.edu
Web Address: international.fsu.edu/Types/Linkage/Florica%20Costa%20Rica.aspx

Florida-Eastern Europe Institute

Tuition Exemption Office
Mr. Angel Cardec
Office of International Studies
University of Central Florida
12424 Research Parkway, Suite 395
Orlando, FL 32826-3208
Phone: (407) 882-2300 Fax: (407) 275-4386
E-mail: acardec@mail.ucf.edu

Dr. Charles Mojock
Lake-Sumter Community College
9501 U.S. HWY 441, Leesburg, FL 34788-8751
Phone: (352) 365-3523 Fax: (352) 365-3548
E-mail: mojockc@lscc.cc.fl.us
Web Address: www.international.ucf.edu/eeli

Florida-France Institute

*Tuition Exemption Office
Dr. Christine Probes, Co-director (c/o Violetta Urba)
Florida France Institute
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., CPR107, Tampa, FL 33620-5550
Phone: (813) 974-8081 Fax: (813) 974-8271
E-mail: global.usf.edu/florida_france/

Joan Cassels
International Programs
Florida State University
A5529 UCA, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2420
Phone: (850) 644-7823 Fax: (850) 644-8817
E-mail: jcassels@admin.fsu.edu
Web Address: global.usf.edu/florida_france/index.htm

Florida-Israel Institute

Dr. Zvi Roth, Co-Director
Florida-Israel Institute
Florida Atlantic University, SE-470
777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 297-3471 Fax: (561)-297-4094
E-mail: rothz@fau.edu

Dr. Catherine Meschievitz, Director
Office of International Programs SU-106
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 297-1039 Fax: (561) 297-2850
E-mail: cmeschie@fau.edu

Dr. Daniel Rieger, Co-Director
Florida-Israel Institute
Broward Community College
Bldg. 57, Room 215 (North Campus)
1000 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek, FL 33066
Phone: (954) 201-2451
E-mail: drieger@broward.edu

Dr. David D. Moore
Associate Vice President for International Education
Broward Community College
225 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (954) 201-7707 Fax: (954) 201-7708
E-mail: dmoore@broward.edu
Web Address: www.floridaisrael.org

Florida-Japan Institute

Tuition Exemption Office
Dr. Mark Orr
(c/o Violetta Urba)
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., CPR 107, Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: (813) 974-8081 Fax: (813) 974-8271
E-mail: florida-japan@iac.usf.edu

Ms. Shigeko Honda
University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
Phone: (850) 474-3108 Fax: (850) 857-6024, shonda@uwf.edu
Web Address: www.uwf.edu/intered/fjli/

Florida-Mexico Institute

Christine Jarchow
Latin American & Caribbean Center
Florida International University
DM-353 University Park, Miami, FL 33199
Phone: (305) 348-1913 Fax: (305) 348-3593
E-mail: jarchowc@fiu.edu
Web Address: casgroup.fiu.edu/lacc/pages.php?id=1013

Florida-West Africa Institute

Dennis Gayle
Ms. Betty Flinchum
University of North Florida
Building 838
c/o International Center
4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South Jacksonville, Florida 32224-2676
Phone: (904) 620-1950 Fax: (904) 620-3925
E-mail: dgayle@unf.edu, bflinchu@unf.edu

Dr. Brenda Simmons
Florida Community College at Jacksonville
101 W. State St. #A 1185, Jacksonville, FL 32202-2056
Phone: (904) 633-5895 Fax: (904) 633-8172
E-mail: bsimmons@fccj.org

Ms. Anges Coppin
Florida A&M University
304 Perry Page North, Tallahassee, FL 32307
Phone: (850) 599-3562 Fax: (850) 561-2587
E-mail: agnes.coppin@famu.edu
Web Address: www.unf.edu/intlctr/FLAWI_Waiver.aspx