Skip Navigation
 
Welcome to the APUS Help Center
  

Course Load Guidelines — How Many Courses Should You Take?

Only you can know the amount of coursework you can fit into your daily schedule. Determining how many courses to take in a semester could be based on many factors, including: work and family responsibilities; deployments; planned vacations; expenses; prior commitments, and social engagements. In general, we make the following recommendations.

Undergraduate Students

  • 12 credit hours in a 16-week semester is considered the minimum full-time course load. 
  • For 8-week courses: 2 courses the first 8 weeks and 2 more the second 8 weeks is the recommended full-time schedule.
  • During an average week, expect to spend 9 to 10 hours completing coursework for each 16-week course, or 15 to 18 hours per week for each 8-week course.
  • It is recommended that new students begin with just one course at a time.

Graduate Students

  • 6 credit hours per 16-week semester is considered full time.
  • During an average week, expect to spend 10 to 15 hours completing coursework for each 16-week course, or 18 to 22 hours per week for each 8-week course.
  • It is recommended that new graduate students begin with just one course at a time.

Course Overload Limitations

Taking more than 15 undergraduate credit hours or 12 graduate-level credit hours at the same time in a 16-week semester is considered a course overload. To do this, you must obtain permission from the Registrar's office and meet these requirements:

  • You must have completed at least 30 undergraduate credit hours or 9 graduate-level credit hours.
  • You must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or graduate GPA of 3.5.
  • You cannot have any current courses on extension.

Generally, no course overload greater than 19 undergraduate credit hours or 15 graduate-level credit hours will be approved.

Full-Time Status

Depending on how you pay for school, you may be required to take a minimum amount of credits per semester. Read Student Status by Credit Hours for FSA or VA Educational Benefits Definition of Full-Time Status, or view the Student Handbook to understand the definition of full-time status when paying for school using Veterans Benefits or Federal Student Aid.