Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) - Graduate Students Only

Important Dates and F-1 Deadlines

What Is Full-Time Equivalency (FTE)?

If graduate students will not be enrolled full time during an academic semester yet the academic department considers them to be full time, while the students working on completing the Culminating Experience requirement.  This definition is for maintaining F-1 student immigration status only.

Who Are Eligible for FTE?

An FTE may be granted in the following TWO circumstances:

1. You are in your final semester of course work and are enrolled in the one of the following Culminating Experience course(s):

890 - Culminating Experience Seminar 895 – Field Study/Applied Research Project
892 – Supervised Field Internship 896EX – Comprehensive Examination
893 – Written Creative Work 898 – Thesis
894 – Creative Work Project 998 – Dissertation

2. You have completed all coursework(s), received an RP grade for your Culminating Experience course, and are continuing working on Culminating Experience during the grace semester.

During the grace semester, you are considered a matriculated student and are eligible for all students support services.  However, additional fee may apply if you wish to use Student Health Services (SHS).

How to File FTE?

You must do the following in order to obtain FTE approval from OIP:

  1. Submit a Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) form (PDF, 203KB) signed by one of your committee members, and
  2. Register in the Culminating Experience course or have received a RP grade for the Culminating Experience course in the previous semester, and
  3. Clear the health insurance registration hold (including the grace semester):  You must purchase and maintain SF State sponsored health insurance for the entire semester


Your signed FTE form must be received by OIP by the end of drop/add period of each semester.  The deadline to can be found at Registrar’s Office website. You will be considered out of status if you failed to obtain FTE approval from OIP before the deadline. Once you are out of status, you will lose the eligibility to work on campus immediately and also the eligibility to apply for OPT.


  • You should maintain frequent contact each semester with your faculty member and meet all timelines set forth in the Culminating Experience proposal document.  
  • If you are not able to meet the timeline due to medical reason, you must inform your faculty advisor immediately.  You will also need to submit Reduced Course Load (RCL) due to Medical Condition to OIP before the current semester end date.  OIP cannot retroactively approve any RCL due to Medical Condition.  Failed to submit RCL due to Medical Condition will make you ineligible for another FTE or RCL due to Completion of Study.
  • You can travel in and out of the U.S. during the semesters that you are approved for FTE.  However, you are still required to meet the timeline for graduation.  You will not be eligible for another FTE or a RCL due to Completion of Study if your oversea trip caused delay of your graduation.