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Credit Load



To define the minimum and maximum credit load per semester for full-time academic work in a graduate program.


Academic Goal

To inform students and advisers of appropriate course loads within the context of “normal progress” towards a degree.



All graduate students.

Full-time participation in graduate study can involve a wide range of activities not limited to classroom activities in formal courses. The nature of these activities varies because of the diversity of programs throughout the University. Thus, full-time participation in graduate study is associated with a range of credit loads.
Maximum Credit Load
the maximum number of credits a student can register for each semester without being required to request an exception.

Policy Statement

  1. The graduate student is responsible for ascertaining, through the adviser and/or program office, the range of total activity of his or her individual program that constitutes normal progress toward the degree.
  2. The minimum credit load per semester determines a graduate student's enrollment status (e.g. full-time) as defined by University administrative policy (see N-5: Enrollment Status).
  3. The maximum credit load per semester for a student in a research degree program (Ph.D., M.A., M.S.) is 15 credits.
  4. The maximum credit load per semester for a student in a professional degree program is 21 credits. A college/school may set a college-wide lower semester credit limit, if desired.
  5. No student is permitted to count audited credits toward the minimum credit load for full-time or part-time status.
  6. Undergraduate courses taken to meet foreign language or English requirements do count in the total credit load.

    Please refer to Policy GSAD-901 for minimum and maximum credit loads for Graduate Assistants.


If a graduate student wishes to register for more than the maximum credit load in a semester, an exception must be granted through petition (with adviser’s approval) to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services.

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, March 13, 2024. Effective date: Immediately (March 13, 2024)
    • Revised Policy Statement #2 to refer to University Policy N-5 for minimum credit loads determining enrollment status.
  • Approved by Graduate Council, January 16, 2019. Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019).
    • The maximum credit load per semester for students in a professional degree program was changed from 15 to 21 credits. The revisions also clarify that a college or school may set a lower credit limit for their unit. Research degree students (those students in M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. programs) are still limited to 15 credits per semester.
  • Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: June 2018.
  • Last known revision, March 2017.
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