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International Students

Because of visa requirements, international students have several additional things to keep track of as they go through the MSEd Program. Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) is a fantastic resource, and one that you should get to know very well. OISS is always the authority on visa-related issues -- but we'll highlight a couple of important things to know here. 

International students must be full-time

In order to maintain your student visa status, you must be enrolled full-time every quarter. This means a minimum of 3.0 units. If you ever need to take fewer than 3.0 units, you will need to complete a Reduced Course Load form. Keep in mind, however, that there are only a handful of specific conditions under which you can qualify for a reduced course load. If none of the conditions apply to you, you must register for a full 3 units. 

More information, including a link to the Reduced Course Load form and the specific conditions necessary to qualify, can be found on the OISS website at:

Note concerning course units:

  • Most MS_ED courses with numbers ending in -0 are 1.0 unit. The Student Teaching in Multilingual & Multicultural
  • Contexts courses (485-0, 486-0, 487-0, and 488-0) are 2.0 units each.
  • Most MS_ED courses with numbers ending in -1, -2, or -3 are 0.5 units.
  • 1 unit is the equivalent of 2-and-2/3 semester hours.

Optional Practical Training Post-Graduation

Elementary and Secondary Teaching candidates are eligible for the standard one-year OPT. Educational Studies and Learning Sciences candidates are eligible for the three-year STEM OPT.