Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Welcome to Seattle Pacific University! The School of Business, Government, and Economics (SBGE) is proud of its international and cultural diversity. The important information that follows reviews the required I-20 form and certification; enrollment requirements; and campus resources of interest to international students. We are committed to providing the assistance you need to understand SPU and SBGE policies and program requirements.

    It is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your immigration
    status during your stay in the United States. If you fail to comply with your immigration
    responsibilities (for example maintain a full-time credit load), you could jeopardize your
    F-1 status and legal stay in the U.S. Please review this information carefully and contact
    our International Student Records office if you have any questions.

What is considered full-time registration?

Generally, F-1 students are required to maintain full-time status every quarter. Full-time status is considered six or more credits each quarter.

Course offerings can be found in the Time Schedule. Do not register for fewer than the required number of credits without first receiving written permission from the Graduate Director and the International Student Records Office. Students who reduce their studies to part-time without written approval will be “out of status” and could jeopardize their stay in the U.S.; and this could make them ineligible for F-1 benefits.

What are Independent Study agreements?

Independent study courses are those in which you do specific work independently under the direction of an instructor, as outlined in an approved independent study agreement. Work for an independent study course occurs outside the classroom setting. SBGE faculty are not required to take on these independent study courses, but will often make accommodations for students.  

The independent study option should be sought only when a needed class is not available for a particular quarter, when your schedule cannot accommodate a course that is offered, or when you want to study a topic that is not normally offered. 

Only matriculated students at SPU may register for independent study courses. You must complete the Independent Study form and have it signed by your instructor and by the Graduate Director. You and your instructor then must meet on a regular basis for the number of consultations noted in the agreement.

Registration for an independent study must be submitted to Student Academic Services no later than the 10th day of the quarter (see the University Calendar for specific dates). SAS will create the course as noted on the agreement. Copies of the agreement will be forwarded to you and the instructor.

How does concurrent enrollment at SPU and another University apply to me?

As an SBGE graduate student, you may, with prior permission from the Graduate Program Coordinator and Student Academic Services, take courses concurrently at another four-year university, provided your combined load does not total more than the number of credits permitted as a normal graduate load for the registration period. To concurrently enroll, you must take the majority of your course load at SPU. The credits should count towards your SBGE degree. The requirement for full-time study may be met with concurrent enrollment. Consult your Graduate Program Director for further details.

Reduced Course Load

Exceptions to full-time registration must be approved before the last day of the quarter registration add period. For information about reduced course load guidelines, contact the Coordinator of International Student Records

How do I get verification of enrollment?

There are several options to obtain a status verification letter. Your Graduate Program Coordinator can provide a status verification letter. The office of Student Academic Services can also provide a status verification letter.

I have questions about my tuition bill, who should I contact?

For questions relating to tuition fees and payments, contact Student Financial Services.

Why do I have a registration hold from Health Services? Who should I contact?

If Health Services has not received the required health related documents provided to you, you will have a registration hold placed on your account. You should contact Health Services at (206) 281-2231 to find out specifically what you are missing.

Can I work while maintaining full-time status?

F-1 students are authorized to work on and off-campus at SPU. The International Student Employment Guide will help you get started with on-campus employment. F-1 students may also participate in Curricular Practical Training. If you have additional employment questions, contact the Student Financial Services (SFS) office by phone (206) 281-2047, email:, or in person. SFS is located on the ground floor of Demaray Hall.

The International Student Records Office has the required employment paperwork. Please request this paperwork at least one week in advance of your employment start date.

Who qualifies for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)? 

Curricular Practical Training is available to MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR and MAM-FB students on an F-1 visa who have completed one academic year (3 quarters). If you intend to pursue CPT, you are strongly encouraged to include BUS 6969 Practice of Business as one of your five electives. Completing a project related to your degree program in cooperation with an enterprise under the sponsorship of a faculty member is similar to doing an internship. Students have an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from their prior coursework to a meaningful project with a business. This constitutes a very valuable opportunity for international students to become more familiar with U.S. business practices and meets the criteria for Curricular Practical Training.

How do I register for CPT credits?

F-1 students must complete two forms to participate in CPT credits. You must work with a faculty sponsor to complete the Independent Study Form and a learning contract. You must request a copy of the learning contact from the International Student Records Office at least  one week in advance of your employment start date.

Do I need a job before I register for CPT credits?

Yes. You must have been offered an employment or internship opportunity before your CPT forms can be processed for registration.  

What is the maximum number of CPT credits allowed in my program? 

Students in the MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR or MAM-FB programs are allowed a maximum of six CPT credits. There are no exceptions to this rule. 

Do I need to maintain full-time status in my final quarter?

Students in their final quarter of degree completion may also qualify for a reduced course load as long as at least one credit is registered at SPU. Students must complete a Reduced Course Load (RCL) form and provide a letter from the Graduate Program Director verifying the number of credits remaining to complete degree requirements to the International Student Records Office.

Can I have an I-20 extension?

SBGE students are eligible for an I-20 extension if they have maintained full-time status, as defined by their scholarship and/or their F-1, while showing normal academic progress. Students must provide a letter to Student Academic Services (SAS)-International Student Records Office from the Graduate Director explaining the reason for the I-20 extension request and the new completion date.

Does SBGE offer a dual MBA/MS-ISM degree? 

No. SBGE does not offer a dual MBA/MS-ISM degree. If you wish to complete both the Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Information Systems Management degrees, you must complete one degree before pursing the second. You would apply for the second degree program beginning the quarter following the completion of the first degree. For information on how to extend your I-20 while completing the second master’s degree, contact the International Students Record Office.

How do I request an official copy of my SPU transcript? 

To request an official copy of your transcript, please complete the transcript request form and submit it to Student Academic Services.

I have more questions about my program of study, who should I contact?

To create, review, and/or revise your program of study, contact the SBGE Graduate Program Advisor/Coordinator to schedule an advising meeting.