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Graduate College

International Students

OUHSC aims to provide a rigorous training experience while also fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and collaborative environment. The Graduate College is firmly committed to promoting and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across campus and working to ensure that students have the necessary support and resources to succeed. We work closely with campus partners including OU's College of International Students, OUHSC Student Affairs, and the International Student Organization to achieve this.

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General Responsibilies

  • Make sure you understand the policies and requirements to maintain your status.
  • Contact the International Student Office promptly when a situation might influence your status. We recommend that you copy the Graduate College as well as your program director or mentor.
  • Be aware of any unique requirements for your situation.


  • Before traveling out of the US for any length of time, for any reason you must:
    1. Request a leave of absence from the Graduate College.
    2. Contact the international student office to have your travel approved.
  • Allow at least 10 business days for processing leave requests. If you need to take an urgent, unplanned short-term absence, we will work with you to process the request as quickly as possible. 
  • Review the guidelines for Student Travel

Enrollment and Academics

  • Maintain full-time enrollment. If you do not have a Graduate Assistantship, full time is 9 hours in fall and spring, and 4 hours in summer. If you are a Graduate Assistant, full time is 6 hours in fall and spring, and 3 hours in summer.
    • Only courses with a passing grade will count toward your full time enrollment.
  • Make progress toward completing your degree requirements.
  • When needed, request an extension well in advance

Graduation and OPT

  • Inform International Student Services of your academic progress and plans for graduating.
  • Work with your mentor and program director to decide the best end date for your I-20. Your I-20 end date can be either the date of your defense or the final day of the semester. Your I-20 will be shortened if you submit your final copy or begin OPT before the end date.
  • Apply for OPT through USCIS up to 90 days before completing your degree program.

Work and Finances

  • Contact the International Student Office if you are considering any work other than a GRA position. Unauthorized work can jeopardize your status, even if you are not getting paid (i.e., volunteering).
  • Maintain an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, even if you have a GRA appointment.
  • Plan ahead for graduation. After your I-20 end date, you will not be allowed to work or receive a GRA stipend until your OPT start date.