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Undergraduate Bulletin
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Course Selection

Course Loads

Twelve semester hours is considered full-time status for undergraduates. An undergraduate student must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 hours to qualify for full-time certification to any organization.

Full-time undergraduates normally take five courses per semester. Since a majority of courses carry three hours of credit with some carrying four hours of credit, a normal course load is 15 or 16 hours per semester. To complete most undergraduate degrees in four years, students should plan to carry 15 or 16 hours per semester.

Undergraduates may not take more than 19 hours per semester except with the approval of the Students First Office, 139B McIver, 336/334-5730. Students who have cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 may be authorized, in special circumstances and at the discretion of the Associate Director of Advising Enhancement, Students First Office, to carry a maximum of 21 hours of course work.

Suggested Academic Workload Guidelines

Students should be aware that academic excellence and scholastic achievement usually require a significant investment of time in study, research, and out-of-class projects. To provide guidance to students in planning their academic and work schedules, the following recommendations are offered:

  1. In general, students should plan to devote between 2–3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. Thus, students with a 15-hour course load should schedule between 30–45 hours weekly for completing outside-of-class reading, study, and homework assignments.
  2. Students who are employed more than 5–10 hours each week should consider reducing their course loads (semester hours), depending upon their study habits, learning abilities, and course work requirements.

Course Levels

Course level numbers are structured as follows:


intended primarily for freshmen


intended primarily for sophomores


intended primarily for juniors


intended primarily for seniors


intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students; these courses are not open to freshmen and sophomores


registration restricted to students who are classified as graduate students


registration restricted to students admitted to doctoral programs

The Undergraduate Bulletin lists complete course descriptions for courses numbered 100 through 599. Please see The Graduate School Bulletin for information on 600- and 700-level graduate courses.

Adding Courses

Students may add courses to their schedules during the Drop/Add period. Between the end of the Drop/Add period and the 10th day of classes, a student desiring to add a course may do so only with the written approval of the instructor.

Late Adds

After the 10th day of classes, adding with instructor permission will be accepted by the University Registrar’s Office only under extraordinary circumstances.

Course Drop Policy

Approved by Faculty Senate, February 4, 2009; Approved by the Chancellor, April 2, 2009.

Dropping Current Term Courses

Dropping a course or courses within the first eight weeks of the semester shall be without penalty and hours shall not be computed as hours attempted.

Dropping a course or courses after the eight-week deadline but before the end of the semester shall be without penalty when approved for appropriate cause as determined by appropriate documentation of medical, psychological, unanticipated life events, or administrative reasons. A student should initiate a request for course drop without penalty from one or more courses through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Courses of less than one semester’s duration, including summer school courses, shall have shorter deadlines (proportional to the eight-week deadline for the regular semester) for dropping. These deadlines are published on the University Registrar's Web site.

The Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall be responsible for authorizing these drops after consultation with the instructor of every course, and with other departments or agencies as needed.

The grade W on the grade report and transcript indicates that the student either dropped the course within the eight-week, no-penalty period or that the student dropped at a later date for appropriate cause determined by medical, psychological, unanticipated life events, or administrative reasons.

If a student drops all courses, the student is considered officially withdrawn from the University. See section on Withdrawal from the University.

Dropping Courses Retroactively

Students shall be given one year following the semester in which a course was taken to petition to drop the course retroactively. Students who seek to drop a course/courses retroactively must meet the conditions under “Dropping Current Term Courses” and the drop must be approved by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. In the event that the instructor is, for practical purposes, unavailable, only the Academic Appeals Committee of the Faculty Senate may act in place of the instructor in the matter of a retroactive course drop.

Courses may not be dropped retroactively for students who have graduated.

This page was last updated on June 6, 2012.