Credit Hours: Everything You Need to Know About Credit Hours in College

Posted: December 16, 2022 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 3 minutes

What are credit hours in college?If you are starting your first year in college, you should know it’s a little different from any schooling you’ve had up to this point. The way to track how much of your education you’ve completed and how much you have yet to do is through credits and credit hours. As a student, you manage your own time. It’s up to you to get to class, do your homework, and study.

As you navigate college, use this guide to make sure you don’t end up with too many or too few credit hours.

Questions About Credit Hours

What is a credit hour?

A credit hour is a unit used to measure the amount of schoolwork a student has enrolled for or completed.

How are credit hours determined?

Each course is assigned a specific number of credit hours. This number is typically based on the number of face-to-face classes per week. For example, a course that meets for one hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is a three-credit-hour course.

How many credit hours are considered full-time?

To be a full-time undergraduate student, you must take at least 12 credit hours per semester. Full-time graduate students must take at least 6 credit hours per semester.

What is a normal credit hour load?

A normal load for undergraduate studies is 15 credit hours. By taking 15 credit hours each semester, students should graduate in four years, varying on their area of study.

What is the maximum credit hour load?

The maximum credit hour load varies by semester as follows:


  • Fall/Spring - 18 credit hours
  • Summer - 12 credit hours


  • Fall/Spring - 15 credit hours
  • Summer - 12 credit hours

Students with an SUU grade point average of 3.5 or higher may enroll for more than the Maximum Load credit hours. Written approval from the academic advisor and the respective dean of the student’s major is required. Approval must be obtained before registering.

How do I calculate my class standing?

An undergraduate student’s class standing depends on the number of semester hours successfully completed, as follows:

Hours Completed: Level (year)

  • 0 to 29: Freshmen (first)
  • 30 to 59: Sophomore (second)
  • 60 to 89: Junior (third)
  • 90 to graduation: Senior (fourth)

For more information about credit hours, visit the Registrar’s Office.

Transferring Credits from Another College

What if you have transfer credits?

For those who are transferring from another college, it is really important that all your credits transfer to ensure you stay on track. Some credits transfer differently or don’t transfer at all to certain colleges; for example, if the college doesn’t have your desired major. Because of this, it is important to search SUU’s Transfer Guide.

It is also recommended that you meet with a college advisor. Advisors can help you with your class schedule, bring up important information about key classes and help you stay on track.

If you are transferring between schools in Utah, the Utah Transfer Guide is a tool to help you plan your transfer and should be used along with the information you receive from your transfer advisor.

How do I transfer my credits from another institution?

First, send official transcripts to Admissions. Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the previous school(s) to SUU via an Electronic Transcript Service, such as National Transcript Clearinghouse, Parchment, eScrip-Safe, etc. Then once you are fully admitted, transfer articulation will find course descriptions and email them to the respective departments for review. You will receive a "Transfer Equivalency Letter" email once the articulation is complete. You will receive a separate email for each transcript that is articulated. Transcripts are processed in the order they are received once a student is admitted.

Whether you are starting college fresh or transferring schools, the change can be nerve-racking. Hopefully, learning more about credit hours will make this transition smoother for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to peer mentors or academic advisors if you need help or have questions. Most importantly, be excited about your decision and gear up to have fun.

Find the version of this article in Spanish here: Preguntas Sobre Horas de Crédito.

Tags: High School Parents

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