Culminating Experience

What is a culminating experience? 

A culminating experience is required for the completion of a master's or doctorate degree program. It is the final requirement to culminate your degree.  Please go here for more detailed information.

As an F-1 graduate student, you need to enroll in a minimum of 9 units each term to maintain your immigration status. However, you may qualify for a full-time exception, if you are not in your final semester of study while you are enrolled in your culminating experience course. A full-time exception allows you to maintain your F-1 status as a full-time student. 

You are permitted to complete your Masters Project/Thesis Proposal course, Comprehensive Exam, or Creative Work along with your other courses in the same semester. An academic/faculty advisor and/or department chair must authorize the culminating experience. Please note the following: 

  • If you are enrolled in 9 units or more in the semester you are completing your Masters Project/Thesis Proposal course, Comprehensive Exam, or Creative Work, you are not required to submit the ISSS Culminating Experience form. 
  • If you are required to complete a two-part project (e.g. project A & project B) with less than full-time enrollment, then you may be authorized to do so by completing the required form each semester.
  • If you have a final project, thesis, or comprehensive exam remaining for the completion of your degree in your final semester, you should complete the Reduced Course Load Request (RCL) eform.
  • If you are completing a project extension( i.e.,1290R), you should complete the Reduced Course Load Request (RCL) eform and you cannot get authorization to engage in CPT.

How to File the ISSS Culminating Experience Form

1) Consult with your academic advisor to determine whether you are qualified for a full-time exception. 
2) Complete the Culminating Experience Confirmation - F-1 Students Only e-form
3) Once your department approves your request, our office will be notified. We will review the form and inform you if your request has been approved. 

** Please note that this form is required by ISSS to ensure you are meeting the federal regulations to maintain your F-1 status. Your Academic Advisor will also need to ensure to complete the GAPE Culminating Experience form.


Additional Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment:
Reduced Course Load

Concurrent Enrollment