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Course Loads and Overloads, Undergraduate

Type: Enrollment
Effective Date: 6/1/2019

The minimum credit hours/units required for “full-time” designation for undergraduate students varies, depending on the term and the context. “Full-time” status, as stated in this policy, is generally limited to an academic designation and is typically applicable only to academic requirements for the University. Requirements established by lending agencies, government regulations (including those that rule federal financial aid), employing entities, agencies sponsoring educational benefits, and certain insurance policies may utilize criteria that differ from this policy on what constitutes “full-time” enrollment. Students are responsible for knowing these criteria, and should contact the proper agency or department (such as the NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid) for questions and clarification on those criteria.

Full-Time Status

Undergraduate students are considered “full-time” during Fall or Spring terms if they are enrolled in 12 credit hours/units during that term. Undergraduate students are considered “full-time” during Summer term if they carry 6 credit hours/units accumulated over any combination of summer sessions. Withdrawing from a course may reduce enrollment status to less than “full-time.” 

In some situations, enrollment in fewer than 12 credits during the Fall and Spring terms (or 6 credits for Summer), can be considered “full-time” by NAU. These situations include, but are not limited to: undergraduate students participating in an approved or required cooperative educational program as part of their degree. In these instances, the NAU Registrar’s Office has the authority to approve a “full-time” status designation, as long as the student’s work satisfies ABOR’s policy criteria for full-time academic credit.

Term Overloads

The maximum number of credit hours/units allowed for enrollment by undergraduate students without an overload approval is 19 credit hours/units for Fall and Spring terms, 16 credit hours/units for Summer term, and 4 credit hours/units for Summer pre-session or Winter term.  The maximum number of credit hours/units for mini-courses or dynamically dated courses varies depending on the length of the course. Contact the Registrar’s Office to seek the criteria governing overload approvals on these types of courses. 

Approval for a Term Overload

Students may carry a term overload (exceed maximum credit hours/units in a term), only with the approval of their academic advisor and/or other appropriate unit administrator. Overloads above 24 credit hours/units for fall and spring terms, 17 hours for any summer term, or 5 hours for winter term will not be approved for undergraduate students. 

Some undergraduate programs require a student to hold a specific minimum grade point average before an overload is approved. NAU recommends a minimum 2.95 cumulative GPA be achieved prior to carrying an overload for 20 units and a 3.20 cumulative GPA prior to carrying an overload for 21-23 units.

To apply for enrollment in an overload, students must submit the appropriate approval form, with the required signatures/approvals, when they enroll. This form is available on the Registrar's website.

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