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L&S Credit Limits in Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms

This section explains the rules for taking more than the maximum number of credits for L&S undergraduate students during the academic year or summer session.
Letters & Science undergraduate students who wish to take more than 18 credits during the fall or spring semester can do so with the approval an L&S academic dean.  Students obtain this permission by filling out the credit overload request form.  Please note that taking more than 18 credits during the regular semester (e.g., taking 19 or 20 credits) is usually referred to as a heavy program or an "academic overload".

Fall and Spring Terms

  • A 19 or 20 credit load may only be carried by L&S undergraduate students who have earned at least a cumulative GPA of 3.00 at UW-Madison. There is no exception to the policy.
  • No student may carry more than 20 credits during the fall or spring semester.
  • Additional fees are assessed for the 19th and 20th credit as these credits fall outside the flat fee assessed for 12-18 credits.  See the Office of the Registrar's website for information regarding tuition rates and fees.

Summer Sessions

  1. The overall limit for summer work is twelve (12) credits (or thirteen with special permission).  This includes residence plus transfer credits.
  2. Each summer session has a credit limit that is typically the number of weeks in the session.  In other words, a student can only earn 3 credits in a 3-week summer session.   It might be possible to get permission to take up to one (1) additional credit over the number of weeks a session meets.   An L&S undergraduate student needs permission from an L&S academic dean to carry one (1) additional credit per week in a session (e.g., four [4] credits in a 3-week session) by filling out the credit overload request form.
  3. These two limits (1 and 2 above) are enforced by the Student Information System (SIS) for residence credits.  Therefore, students who are only taking UW-Madison courses will not be able to exceed allowable limits.  (See 4 below for a caution.)
  4. Overlapping sessions are measured individually which allows students to put themselves in difficult situations.  We recommend that students stay in the one credit per week range even when overlapping sessions allow students to double up.
  5. Students do not need permission for concurrent enrollment for summer; HOWEVER, if they exceed credit limits, the credit may not transfer.  Student should always check with Credit Evaluation Services in the Registrar's Office before finalizing their schedules.
  6. Additional information about credit load and summer sessions can be found under enrollment-related information.  
Contact the L&S Academic Dean's Office with further questions: 
Phone: (608) 262-0617

Keywordscredit overload, heavy program, academic overload, credit limit approval, eighteen credits or more, summer credits, summer overload, fall overload, spring overload   Doc ID21177
OwnerTori R.GroupL&S KB
Created2011-11-06 15:10:13Updated2021-05-19 10:58:10
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