After two (2) consecutive semesters are completed, graduate students in F-1 status may request a semester break. Only one semester break may be requested per degree.

For students who request and are approved for a partial semester break, this will be considered the one allowable break per degree.


Students can take a full break or partial break.

Example of full semester break: Break request for Late Fall and come back Late Spring semester.

Example of partial semester break: Break request for Spring and come back Late Spring semester.

Important Notes:

  • Harrisburg University operates on a trimester schedule and full-time enrollment is expected year-round. You must be approved for a semester break by the International Student Office (ISO). You are expected to enroll in the next semester, after your break has ended. 
  • Students are not permitted to have a gap of more than 5 months in between semesters. 
  • Students on an authorized semester break are not required to leave the U.S.
  • Students are permitted to travel outside the U.S. if they have a valid passport, visa, and active form I-20 with travel endorsement.
  • A semester break is only for one semester. If you foresee any issues with returning after one semester, please contact the ISO to discuss your situation.
  • If you have been approved for a program extension in the past, please contact the ISO to determine your eligibility for a semester break. 
  • Students must use their 1 allowable semester break if they need to switch semester tracks due to a change in program/concentration or unavailability of major/concentration classes. 



  • A student may not be employed on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while on a semester break.
    • When a semester break is approved, CPT must cease as of the last day of classes of the semester before the break.
    • We will be shortening your CPT authorization to the last day of class of the last semester of enrollment.


Deadline to Apply:

  • A break request must be submitted no later than the last day of class for the current semester you are enrolled in.
  • When you are ready to submit your request, please login to the Terra Dotta Systemand navigate to the Request Center to find the Semester Break request. 
    • We recommend that students access Terra Dotta through a desktop/laptop device, as mobile compatibility is limited.



H-1B and All Non-F1 students:

  • Students on H-1B or other valid Visas that are not F-1 status may request a break from their studies after completing the following steps:
    • You will need to notify the ISO office, if you have not done so already, that your status has changed from F-1 to H1B or other type of visa that is not F-1 by providing a PDF copy of the I797 Approval Notice. 
    • Once your record has been updated, you will need to contact Records and Registration Office to request a break by submitting a new support ticket: Support : Harrisburg University Records & Registration.