Student Load

The unit of credit for work at UNK is the semester credit hour.

  1. Twelve to sixteen credit hours each semester is considered a normal class load during the academic year for full-time undergraduate students. Up to eighteen credit hours may be taken by undergraduate students without petitioning for an over-load.
  2. The Office of the University Registrar must approve all requests for more than 18 credit hours.  Undergraduate students wishing to carry more than eighteen credit hours must meet these requirements1:
    1. students requesting 19-21 credit hours must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA;
    2. students requesting 22 or more credit hours must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA.
  3. Nine credit hours each term is considered a full-time load for graduate students. Graduate students seeking a class load in excess of twelve credit hours shall obtain an over-load approval from the Graduate Office prior to registration. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the student's faculty advisor and the Graduate Dean.
  4. The following restrictions govern student course loads for the twelve-week summer session. Students may enroll in1:
    1. A maximum of 6 credit hours per each four-week segment.
    2. A maximum of 9 credit hours per each eight-week segment.
    3. No more than 15 undergraduate or 12 graduate credit hours during the entire twelve-week summer session.

1 Requests for exceptions to this policy must include the written approval of the student's faculty advisor and be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar for approval.


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.