Course Loads

Definitions, Recommendations and Procedures

University Defined Criteria

These are the definitions for full time and maximum course loads according to the University of Houston.

Full Time Course Load
Semester Credit Hours
Fall, Spring 12 Minimum
Summer Session I, IV 4 Minimum
Summer Session II, III 8 Minimum
Maximum Course Load
Classification Credit Hours
Freshman 16
Sophomore, Junior, Senior,
Post-Baccalaureate
18
Student on Probation 12

Recommended Course Loads

For each credit hour in the classroom, 3 hours of work outside the classroom is expected. If you are taking 12 hours, you should expect to spend at least 36 hours working on those classes outside the classroom. That means you are spending about 48 hours per week on school. That does not count driving time, parking time, etc. Do you plan to eat? Sleep? How about recreation and sanity-saving time?

So many students consider only the hours spent in class when planning their schedules. Many students have to drop classes when they can't keep up with the course load. Many students also have lower grades because their time is spread too thin.

Being in college is a time-consuming activity, so balance your schedule accordingly.

Recommended guidelines in course load based on academic status and employment workload are as follows.

Recommended Course Load
Employment Hours per Week Academic Probation Clear Status
Not employed 15 hr. limit 18 hr. limit
1-20 hr. 12 hr. limit 14 hr. limit
20-30 hr. 10 hr. limit 13 hr. limit
30-40 hr. 7 hr. limit 10 hr. limit

Course Overload

Approval by petition is required for any student who wishes to enroll for a course overload.

Please observe the following steps in seeking approval for a course overload:

  • Enroll in 18 hours through PeopleSoft. It is best for a student to enroll in the general academics first. The process is often simplified when the "overload" class is a College of Technology class.
  • Complete a general petition form. State the number of hours you wish to enroll in for the semester and list the names of ALL the courses you wish to take. Include your cumulative GPA and the reason for the overload. Your GPA needs to be >= 3.00.
  • Once the petition is approved, submit a completed ADD/DROP form along with a copy of the approved petition to the Academic Services Center, and one of the advisors will register you for the additional course(s).

Please note that enrollment in the course overload does not happen automatically with the approval of the petition. It is the student's responsibility to complete the final step and submit the completed add/drop form along with the petition to the Academic Services Center.

Additionally, the course overload petition does not approve a student's enrollment in a closed class. The "overload" class for which the student is requesting enrollment must be open for the advisor to add the student to the course.

It is critical for the course overload petition to be submitted well in advance of the start of the semester.


Maximum Course Overload
Semester Credit Hours
Fall, Spring 22
Summer Session I, IV 9
Summer Total 15