Reduced Course Load

Some students with disabilities may qualify for one or more 2-course terms beyond the three, 2-course terms that most students are permitted.

Support Staff Involved in the Process

As specified in the ORC, Dartmouth students, except for transfer students, are eligible for a reduced course load (i.e., 2 courses/quarter) for up to three quarters. All students registered with SAS who plan to use any of these allotted 2-course terms for disability-related reasons should communicate with their SAS advisor at that time.

Any 2-course term needed due to a disability that exceeds the three allotted requires approval from SAS and verification from the Registrar. Moreover, students receiving financial aid should contact Financial Aid to learn what impact an additional 2-course term might have on their aid prior to petitioning for an additional 2-course term.

All students are encouraged to consult with their undergraduate dean prior to petitioning to discuss the implications of an additional 2-course term and to review relevant forms or processes through the Registrar that may need to be completed as part of the additional 2-course term petition (e.g., making D-Plan changes, submitting a Change of Enrollment form, a DartWorks degree audit, approved major plan, and so forth).

For students on an F-1 visa, OVIS also needs to be involved and provide pre-approval in order to avoid termination of visa status.


For a reduced course load to be considered a disability accommodation in a particular quarter, a student usually must be registered with SAS by the start of that quarter. It is recommended that you begin the process of inquiring about and petitioning for an additional 2-course term due to a disability no later than week 7 of the quarter prior to the one for which you are requesting an additional 2-course term and, consistent with the Two-Course Loads timeframe in the ORC, that you submit your SAS-supported petition to the Registrar by the end of the second week of the quarter. However, all requests from SAS students are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

This may seem like a lot of lead time, but a number of support offices may need to assist with your request. In addition, SAS often needs additional or updated documentation from your provider to illustrate the current need for this accommodation. Moreover, providers frequently need to schedule a meeting with you prior to submitting documentation and may then need time to prepare documentation for SAS.

If you begin experiencing an exacerbation of your disability that may impact your course load, please contact your SAS advisor right away so that reasonable accommodations and other supports can be provided in a timely fashion.


Part One:

  1. If you are concerned about your academic course load, start by scheduling a meeting with your undergraduate dean.
  2. If you receive financial aid, email the Financial Aid office to inquire how an additional 2-course term may impact your aid.
  3. If applicable, schedule a meeting with your OVIS advisor to review your visa requirements and the process for obtaining a Reduced Course Load authorization in SEVIS.
    • Extensions of the I-20 require a demonstration of sufficient funds to cover expenses, and Financial Aid should be consulted in that regard, if necessary.
    • You will also need to provide OVIS a letter from a medical doctor recommending the reduction.
  4. Meet with your SAS Advisor to discuss your request for an additional 2-course term. Your advisor may inform you that you need additional documentation.
    • If you have a disability but are not registered with SAS, please follow SAS' application process. (Temporary conditions such as illnesses or concussions and other injuries are not usually considered disabilities, but all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Part Two:

  1. After receiving SAS approval, download the "Petition for a Two-Course Term beyond the 3 Term Maximum Allowed" from the Registrar's Forms & Petitions page.
  2. Email the Registrar, copying your SAS advisor and undergraduate dean, and attach the completed petition along with any other supplemental documents specified.
    • Consult with your undergraduate dean if you have questions about your D-Plan or the other supplemental documents specified in the petition.
    • If you receive financial aid, also copy Financial Aid and Campus Billing on the email.
    • If applicable, also copy your OVIS advisor on the email.
  3. Your SAS advisor will provide the Registrar verification of SAS approval. The Registrar will notify you shortly thereafter whether your request has been verified.
    • Please note that copying your SAS advisor on your email is important, as this action prompts your SAS advisor to contact the Registrar.
  4. Unless you work with OVIS (see next step), drop or withdraw from your third course as soon as you receive this notification from the Registrar.
  5. If you work with OVIS, be sure that OVIS receives copies of approvals from SAS and/or the Registrar. Authorization must be entered in SEVIS for the Reduced Course Load exception before reducing your course load in order to avoid termination of the I-20 and loss of visa status. After all College approvals are received and the authorization is entered in SEVIS, a new I-20 will be issued. Then, under SEVIS requirements, you may safely drop or withdraw from the course.
  6. If you receive approval and require additional terms to graduate due to your disability, you may also apply for reduced tuition through Campus Billing.