Choosing Your Course Load
One of the first questions students ask when scheduling class is �How many courses should I take this semester?� Before we can answer this question, we must first define some related terms:
Credit Hours
Every class you schedule is worth a certain number of credit hours. For lecture-based classes, this number generally equals the hours per week a course meets.
Example: English 1010 meets approximately 3 hours per week. Thus, it is worth 3 credit hours.

Full-time Student
A student who is enrolled in 12 or more credit hours. Some students may need to be enrolled full-time in order to receive certain types of financial aid and to be maintained on parents� insurance policies.

Part-time Student
A student who is enrolled in less than 12 credit hours. There is no penalty for being a part-time student. Some students take only one course per semester.

Credit Maximum
The maximum number of hours you can schedule in a fall or spring semester is 19. The maximum in summer is 10.

So back to our question: How many credit hours should you schedule?
The response to this question depends upon the amount of time that you will devote each week to your studies. As a general rule, you can expect to have two hours of homework for each hour that you spend in class. Because most classes meet three hours per week, this means that you will usually need to study about 6 hours per week for each class! The chart below provides more examples.
Time Required for College
Credit Hours Taken (Hours Spent in Class) Weekly Study Time Needed Total In-Class and Study Time Needed Each Week
3 credit hours 6 hours 9 hours needed
6 credit hours 12 hours 18 hours needed
9 credit hours 18 hours 36 hours needed
12 credit hours 24 hours 48 hours needed
From the chart above, you can see that a student taking 12 credit hours (a full-time load) can expect to study about 36 hours per week. This is almost equal to a full-time job.

When you are deciding how many courses to schedule, you should ask yourself how much time you want to devote to academics. That will tell you how many hours you should schedule.

Still unsure of how many hours to take? Then read the course load tips section that follows.