HLC FAQ: 5. Maximum Credits per Term FAQs
a. What is the maximum number of credits a student is allowed to enroll for fall/spring terms?
After considering past student performance and peer institution policies, a change in the maximum number of credits allowed for fall/spring terms was approved and becomes effective Fall 2014. The policy in place prior to Fall 2014, allowed a graduate student to enroll in a maximum of 12 graduate-level credits per term. The new policy increases this maximum to 15 graduate-level credits for fall/spring terms. The maximum number of credits allowed for summer terms continues to be 12 credits. Dissertators are still required to enroll in exactly 3 credits related to their dissertation per term. The increase in maximum number of credits for fall/spring terms is expected to mitigate any concerns about increased time to degree given the new credit minimums.
The Graduate School considers graduate-level credits as those courses numbered 300 or above, taken for a grade (not pass/fail and audits). The enrollment system counts all credits in determining maximum credit loads. An overload request is required if a student wishes to exceed the maximum number of credits they are allowed as a graduate student. Even though pass/fail courses, audit courses, and 100- or 200-level courses are not considered graduate-level credits, they are counted in a total credit load.
If a student wishes to enroll in more than the maximum allowed credits per term, they must submit an overload request to the Graduate School, which is considered by an Associate Dean in the Graduate School. (Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures, Graduate School, University of Wisconsin – Madison, http://grad.wisc.edu/education/acadpolicy/index.html)
b. What is the maximum number of credits a student is allowed to enroll for summer terms?
The maximum number of credits allowed for summer terms continues to be 12 credits. Generally, the maximum 12 credits in the summer is achieved by students completing 3 credits during the 3-week intersession at the end of May and into early June; and then an additional 9 credits during the 8-week DHH summer session. Completing 12 credits outside of these standard times most likely requires an overload request given the existing policy that states that the number of credits a student can enroll in cannot exceed the span of weeks in any short session during the summer (except for dissertators). Sometimes this is referred to as the "no more than 1 credit per week" rule (the one exception is the 8-week DHH session which allows 9 credits).
It should be noted that for students that enroll over the summer, the average number of credits taken is 3 credits. In addition, logistically, 12 credits is the maximum that is possible within the standard summer sessions and is aligned with what is academically wise and reasonable for students. If a student wishes to enroll in more than the maximum allowed credits per week/term for the summer, they must submit an overload request to the Graduate School, which is considered by an Associate Dean in the Graduate School.
c. What implications does the “maximum credits per term” have with respect to tuition?
Graduate students enrolling for 8 or more credits during a semester are charged a flat tuition rate. There is no expectation that the tuition plateau level will change as a result of the new policies.