Topics Map > Student Academic Policies > Credits

Common Credit Load for L&S Undergraduate Students

The following section addresses credit load for L&S undergraduate students.

How many credits do I need to take in order to be considered full time?

Full-time student status

  • In order for a student to be considered full time during the fall or spring semester, a student needs to sign up for 12 - 18 credits. 
  • The usual study load of a student is approximately 15 credits per semester, with an ordinary range of 12 to 18 credits.
  • International students and athletes must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters.  For more information, please contact International Student Services (tel.: 608-262-2044) or the Fetzer Student Athlete Academic Center (tel.: 608-262-1787)

Light Load (taking fewer than 12 credits)

  • Students are permission to carry fewer than 12 credits without getting special authorization of an academic dean.  However, students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor regarding the decision to carry a light load since it could have impact on making progress and graduating in four years.
  • A light load may impact a student's eligibility for financial aid (including Social Security and Veterans' benefits), dependent health insurance, international student visa status, University Housing accommodations, or athletic eligibility.

Heavy load (19 or 20 credits)

  • Students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or better at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may enroll for 19 or 20 credits with special permission from an L&S undergraduate academic dean
  • Additional fees per credit are assessed for all credits above 18 credits.
  • Under no circumstances may a student carry more than 20 credits in one semester.
  • L&S undergraduate students who wish to take an overload and qualify to take 19 or 20 credits should fill out the Credit Overload Request Form.
  • For more assistance, please stop by 101 Ingraham Hall or call 608-262-5858 during regular business hours.

Summer Sessions Credit Load (a maximum of 12 credits)

  • In general a student may carry one credit per week of instruction during the summer session.
  • The overall limit for summer work is twelve (12) credits (or thirteen credits with special permission).
  • The credit limit per summer session is the number of weeks of the session.  In other words, a student can only earn 3 credits in a 3-week summer session.
  • A student needs permission from an academic dean to carry one (1) additional credit per weeks in a session (e.g., four [4] credits in a 3-week session).
  • Overlapping sessions are measured individually which allows student to put themselves in difficult situations.  We recommend that students stay in the one (1) credit per week range even when overlapping sessions allow students to double up.
  • Students do not need permission for concurrent enrollment for summer; however, if a student exceeds the credit limit, the credit may not transfer.   Students should always check with Credit Evaluation Services in the Registrar's Office before finalizing their schedules.
  • See credit overload for more information.
  • An academic dean's permission requires a 3.000 cumulative GPA.

Student must carry courses for the number of credits assigned to the courses in the Course Guide.

Contact L&S Student Academic Affairs with further questions: 
Phone: (608) 262-0617

Keywordscredit load, light load, heavy load, summer sessions credit load, financial aid, health insurance, international student services, athletes, international students, veterans' benefits   Doc ID21871
OwnerTori R.GroupL&S KB
Created2011-12-20 13:17:58Updated2023-08-01 07:43:57
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