Full-time Enrollment and Academic Progress
Last update: April 2018
If you are not a Japanese citizen, your status in Japan is regulated by your visa. If you are on a student visa, your status is "Student," which means the Japanese Immigration Bureau expects your main purpose for being in Japan is to study. The Japanese Immigration Bureau expects all those on "Student" visas to be (1) enrolled and attending school full-time and (2) making steady progress towards completing their studies. As a result, TUJ's discretionary visa sponsorship is premised on steady progress to degree completion. If a student visa has been successfully obtained, TUJ is required to monitor students' academic progress and ensure that our students satisfy Immigration's requirements on an ongoing basis.
To satisfy Immigration Bureau requirements, it is TUJ policy that, with limited exceptions, all visa-sponsored students must be enrolled at TUJ full-time every semester including summer semester while residing in Japan. For undergraduate students, full-time enrollment is considered to be a minimum of 12 credits for fall and spring semesters and 9 credits for summer semesters. These requirements can only be met by enrolling in courses offered at TUJ. Online courses from Main Campus do not fulfill this requirement (except for those who are registered for the 2 + 2 program).
If you are not enrolled as a full-time student every semester, TUJ reserves the right to place a visa-hold on your account, assess a visa violation fine, and to file a report with the Immigration Bureau.
Students Intending to Major in Japanese
Students who need a TUJ-sponsored visa and plan to major in Japanese should know that it could take a minimum of 8 semesters to meet the requirements to complete the degree. Many of the courses required for the Japanese major must be taken sequentially. Students with a high number of transfer credits may face a situation where there are only a few non-Japanese major courses available to take, rendering them a part-time student.
Immigration and TUJ visa policy states that students on a TUJ-sponsored visa must register full-time every semester in courses that are required for the degree they are seeking at TUJ. In order to remain in compliance with immigration and TUJ policies, students may need to alter their course of study by adding another major and/or minor(s) or changing their major. As there might be financial implications and other factors to consider when altering the course of study, it is strongly recommended that students consider the above before selecting Japanese as their major.
Exceptions to the Full-time Enrollment Requirement
If you believe you have a legitimate reason for taking less than the required number of units for a full course of study, you may petition for a reduced course load to be reviewed by the administration. Please complete a Reduced Course Load Request (PDF: 130KB) and submit it to the visa coordinator in the Office of Student Services no later than 16:00 on the last day to add a course (See the Academic Calendar). You must be registered for a full course load at the time of submitting this petition and you may not drop courses until your petition is approved. Please note that a fine for failing to file Reduced Course Load Request and related documents in a timely manner will be assessed as described in Visa Holds and Related Sanctions.
- Graduating students:
Students who do not need a full course load in order to graduate must submit a Reduced Course Load Request before registering for courses in such semester(s). If it is your final semester at TUJ, you must have applied for graduation by the time you submit the Reduced Course Load Request.
- Students with a disability or health-related issue:
Students may be approved to take less than a full-time load due to health-related issues or a disability. You must submit current documentation from a doctor that states 1) the specific nature of the illness, 2) how long you have been undergoing treatment with this doctor, 3) the doctor's recommendation for a reduced course load, and 4) the prognosis as to when you will be able to resume a full course load. Other documentation may be required.
Due to strict immigration policy regarding full-time enrollment, TUJ does not allow students to take a permanent reduced course load regardless of disability, illness, or circumstances. TUJ will not allow students to take a reduced course load for more than a total of 3 semesters while pursuing an undergraduate degree regardless of the reason or circumstances.
To satisfy Immigration requirements, it is TUJ policy that all students on student visas must be making steady progress to earn a degree within 4 years (less if you are a transfer student) by taking courses that are required for your degree and by earning satisfactory grades in those courses. When you apply for a landing permission extension (“visa extension”), the Japanese Immigration Bureau may contact TUJ to confirm your academic progress with the expectation that you have earned at least 62-64 credits over a 2-year period. Taking summer semester off, requesting a reduced course load, or having multiple course withdrawals or failing grades will slow your academic progress and may therefore generate problems with your visa extension application.
The university monitors your academic progress every semester to ensure you are completing credits and are on track to earn your degree. Poor academic progress will be flagged and you will receive a warning from the university. Poor academic progress is deemed to be earning 8 credits or less in fall and spring semesters, and 5 credits or less in summer semesters. Students granted permission to take a reduced course load for fewer than 8 credits in fall or spring, or 5 credits in the summer are required to earn all attempted credits for that semester.
Withdrawing from a course
As long as you are registered for a full course load by the end of the drop period, you are allowed to subsequently withdraw from a course and not violate the full-time enrollment requirement. However, in order to maintain steady academic progress, you are strongly encouraged to make up for the lost credits in a future semester.
Leave of Absence or Summer Off
If you need to take a semester off, you may apply for an official leave of absence for the fall or spring semesters, or submit a summer off request form. Please be sure to review graduation requirements and course availability in advance and develop an academic plan that enables you to retain steady academic progress and avoid problems at the time of your visa extension.
If you are taking a leave of absence more than one semester (including a summer off), you are strongly encourage to cancel your visa when you leave Japan and re-apply for a student visa from outside of Japan. Consult with the visa coordinator in OSS concerning LOA and your visa before you leave Japan.
Graduation, Delayed Graduation and Changes in Academic Program
Japanese Immigration expects all visa-sponsored students to earn a bachelor’s degree and graduate in a timely manner (within four years; less for transfer students). Students who are making poor progress towards degree completion and who fail to complete the program within four years will be requested to provide the Immigration Bureau with documentation explaining the reason(s) for not completing the program. Visa renewal is at the sole discretion of the Japanese Immigration Bureau and TUJ has no control over their decisions and how those decisions may affect the student.
Students in their last semester of study before degree completion who are unable to earn the required credits to graduate may be granted one additional semester of visa sponsorship in order to finish their degree. Extending visa sponsorship is also discretionary, and the request for visa sponsorship extension will be thoroughly reviewed. TUJ will not support a visa beyond this semester extension regardless of circumstances.
Students who have applied for graduation and are able to earn a degree in the semester they have applied for graduation must graduate. Students considering altering their desired academic program by adding a major, minor or certificate must declare those changes BEFORE applying for graduation. If they alter their desired academic program after they have already applied for graduation, TUJ will continue to sponsor their student visa for only one additional semester, and in such case only if their then-current landing permission remains valid for the duration of the delayed graduation semester. TUJ will not support a visa extension in a delayed graduation semester for students who have altered their academic program after applying for graduation regardless of personal circumstances. Students with GI Bill benefits who have remaining benefits they want to use or students wanting to retake courses to improve their GPA are not valid reasons for delaying graduation.
Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA
All TUJ visa-sponsored students are required to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. If the curriculum is too difficult, consult with the Academic Advising Center or the Teaching & Learning Center for study guidance immediately. Should your cumulative GPA fall below 2.0, you will receive an official warning from the visa coordinator. If you continue to perform poorly, the university may withdraw sponsorship of your visa.