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How to Register as an International Master's Direct Entry Student

Before you can begin the registration process, you must register your BlazerID and be able to log in to your Blazernet page. Next, you must understand requirements for your visa, program, and university policies for holds. To choose your courses and graduate on time, there are many things you must first understand.

Choosing Your Courses

  • Read your program’s website for the requirements

    Some programs such as Biotechnology or Public Health have more of a “cohort” model. In this model, every student in the major or concentration takes the same classes each semester. Other programs, such as Computer or Data Science, have more individual selection for students. However, you must be aware of many requirements before registration. Some graduate programs have specific core courses that you must take. You need to make sure to register for those each semester they are offered. Some programs have limits about how many 500 level courses you can take.

  • Understand course catalog vs. class schedule

    The course catalog for your program will list all courses the program offers. However, only a certain number of courses are offered each semester. Not all courses are offered every semester by the program!

    UAB has three semesters each academic year: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-April), and Summer (May-August). Your program will offer a different selection of classes each semester.

    Check the class schedule by semester and program to see what you can register for each semester.

  • Choose the correct course levels

    Masters level courses are 500 or 600 level. Only PhD students may take most 700 level courses.

  • Know your visa requirements for registration

    All graduate students (masters or PhD level) on an F-1 visa are required to register for at least 9 hours of credit hours each semester. This is usually three courses since most graduate level courses are 3 credit hours each. Graduate students on an F-1 visa can register for more than 9 credit hours, but need to make sure they can handle the workload.

    Additionally, there are restrictions on registration for online courses for international students. For an international graduate student on an F-1 visa, you must be registered for at least 6 credit hours of in person classes. Any credit hours beyond that can be registration in online (asynchronous) classes. Finally, you must understand that some programs do not allow any online study.

  • Check your admission letter for any pre-requisite courses you are required to take

    For example, many Computer and Data Science students are required to take CS 303. It is essential that you register for this class the first semester you start the program (if it is offered). You will need to contact your department for an override to register for a pre-requisite undergraduate course as a graduate student.

  • Know the dates you can register

    You can always find this by checking the Academic Calendar. Open registration times are published on the calendar. Make sure you are on the correct academic semester when you use the calendar. Register early to get the courses you prefer. Make sure to drop any course by the drop/add deadline if you decide you do not want to take that course. (See more information below on drop/add.)

Removing Your Holds

A hold is a university’s way to communicate that you are required to provide missing information, documents, or tuition payment.

When you have a hold, you may not be able to register for future semesters. You must take care of holds as soon as possible. The hold tells you who to contact if you have questions. Questions about how to remove any hold can be directed to the One Stop office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Types of Holds

  • Immunization hold – This means that you still need to provide information to student health that’s required of all students; you can find information on what you need to provide for proof of immunizations on the Student Health website (click on Patient Portal).
  • Financial hold – This means that you owe money to UAB. Deadlines are very strict; you will be charged late fees if you do not pay on time.
  • Immigration hold – You must turn in certain immigration documents upon arrival in the U.S.
  • Admissions/official document hold – This means that you need to provide some type of official document to International Admissions (transcripts, graduation certificate, English test scores, etc.). You need to carefully follow instructions from International Admissions on how to turn in these documents, as there are very specific instructions that you must follow. You can turn in these documents in one of three ways:
    1. Bring the official documents with you and turn them in to International Admissions once you arrive in the U.S.
    2. Have your former university or high school send the documents by email to the International Admissions office.
    3. Have your former university or high school send the documents by mail to the International Admissions office.
  • International MA hold – This means that you still have your International Mailing Address listed on BlazerNET. As soon as you secure your accommodations, you need to update your Birmingham address to stay in immigration compliance.

Understanding Your Tuition

Payment is due by the first day of class, or you will be dropped from classes. You can also sign up for a payment plan. Learn more about payment plan options.

  • Your tuition and fees will show up on BlazerNET one-two days after you register for classes; your fees may change if you change your schedule. Some courses and labs have different tuition rates or fees, so the total owed to UAB changes depending on your registration.
  • You will also be charged for UAB Student Insurance. For questions about submitting an insurance waiver, please use the Patient Portal on the Student Health website.
  • You can pay for your tuition and fees through BlazerNET or through wire transfer. One Stop can help you know how to pay. Email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also sign up for Flywire, which is a wire transfer service that saves you some money on currency transfer fees.

How to Estimate your Costs

Visit the Cost & Aid website. Click on graduate student. Make sure that you scroll all the way to the bottom to see international student prices.

Understanding the Difference between Dropping/Adding a Class and Withdrawing from a Class

Students can drop/add a class during the first week of class. Check the academic calendar for the exact date each semester. When you drop a class before the drop/add, you are not financially responsible for the class and the class will not show up on your transcript.

Withdrawing from a class is the only option that you can take after the drop/add date has passed. This deadline is very strict. When you withdraw from a class, the class will still show on your transcript with a “W” in the grade column. This does not negatively affect your GPA; students choose this option if they realize that they probably will not perform well and use this option in order to save their GPA from a grade of D or F.

Please note: you will NOT receive any money back if you withdraw. If you have to take the class again another semester, you will have to pay for the class a second time. Also, remember you cannot withdraw from a course if it will drop you below your minimum required hours (9) for a graduate student on an F-1 visa.

Estimating your Graduation Date

First, check the graduate catalog to find out the total credit hours needed to complete your degree. Some master programs only require 30 credit hours whereas others require as much as 45 credit hours to graduate.

The next step is to know if your program has a cohort model. If you are in a cohort model, the total number of hours you must register for is set. You must follow the cohort registration guidelines to graduate on time. You should follow the registration requirements set by your program in a cohort model.

If you are not in a cohort model graduate program, you have more flexibility for registration. Typically, a full load for a master level student is 9 credit hours per semester (about three courses). You can then calculate how long it would take you to graduate based on three semesters per academic year.

Exceptions to note:

  • Many programs do not offer a full load of course options during summer semesters. You may only be able to take 3-6 credit hours during a summer semester. The good news is that summer semesters have some flexibility for your F-1 visa. You can complete a form for a reduced load during summer semester if you cannot take 9 hours of summer courses. You need to be aware of the reduced course options during the summers when you are calculating your graduation date.
  • If you miss a required course during the semester it is offered, you may delay your graduation date. This could also have a negative impact on you financially. Pay attention to your program requirements and take required courses when they are offered.
  • If you fail a course or do not make a minimum required score, you will have to repeat the course. This could delay your graduation date.

Understanding Advising at a U.S. University

The first step is to understand what type of degree program you are in – a cohort model or a flexible model.

  • Cohort Model – A master’s degree that uses a cohort model means that you have very specific classes that you must take every semester until you graduate. If you do not follow the cohort plan, then you will likely delay your graduation date by several semesters. It’s important to follow the plan of the department; you may not have many choices of electives in this type of model. You may be required to register for classes every semester without a break in the summer.
  • Flexible Model – A master’s degree that is a flexible model means that you will have some core classes that every student must take but that you will also have a variety of electives to choose from. To understand the degree plan for your specific major, you need to find your degree program’s website within the uab.edu website. Here you will find information about how many hours are required to graduate, which classes are required of your major, if you have electives (choices) of classes that you can take, if an internship is required, and much more. It is very important to understand that any changes in courses taken other than what is listed on your program’s website must be approved by the head of the department. If you are ever in doubt about what classes count towards your degree, you must contact your advisor, the program director, or the head of the department.

Nearly all graduate programs will have a graduate program meeting for any new student in that degree. Check your UAB emails, as they will communicate to all new students about these REQUIRED meetings.

Office Hours

All professors are required to schedule weekly office hours. This means that you do not have to have an appointment but can drop by with questions about the professor’s class, your schedule, or other academic issues at any time during these published office hours. Many professors hold office hours online over Zoom. When and where office hours are provided are on the course syllabus for each of your classes on Canvas.

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