Student Load

Nine hours per academic semester constitutes a full-time class load, with twelve hours constituting the recommended maximum class load. Permission of the advisor, Graduate Program Committee Chair or Department Chair, and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research are required to take more than 12 hours. Approval will not be granted for enrollment in more than 15 graduate hours.

During the 12-week summer term, a student may enroll in a maximum of 6 hours per each four-week segment, a maximum of 9 hours per each eight-week segment, and no more than 12 graduate hours for the entire twelve-week session.

Registration Requirements for Financial Aid

Academic Year or Summer Session

Status Credit Hours
Full Time 9 or more credit hours
3/4 Time 6-8 credit hours
1/2 Time 4-5 credit hours

Semester Credit Hour Definition

  • Class hour/contact hour = 50 minutes
  • Fall/Spring Semester = 15 instructional weeks plus Final Week
  • Summer Semester = 12 instructional weeks

At UNK, the semester credit hour is the unit used to measure course work. UNK adheres to the Carnegie unit for contact time, i.e., a minimum of 750 minutes or 15 contact hours for each credit hour awarded.

The number of credit hours assigned to a course quantitatively reflects the outcomes expected, the amount of time spent in class, and the amount of outside preparatory work expected for the class. According to federal regulations, a credit hour is defined as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:

  1. Not less than one class hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester credit hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter credit hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, or;
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

This credit hour policy applies to all courses at all levels (graduate, postgraduate and undergraduate) that award academic credit regardless of the mode of delivery. Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy.

The expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course whether it is fully online, a blend of face-to-face contact with some content delivered by electronic means, or one delivered in lecture or seminar format. Courses that have less structured classroom schedules, such as research seminars, independent studies, internships, practica, studio work, or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should clearly state learning objectives, expected outcomes and workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.