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Academic Load

Graduate Studies considers the following a normal course load:

  • Full-time resident student fall or spring semesters: 9-12 graduate credit hours
  • Full-time resident student summer semester: 4-6 graduate credit hours
  • Graduate Assistants fall or spring semesters: 6 credit hours
  • Graduate Assistants summer semester: 1 credit hour

A graduate student may not enroll for more than 15 graduate credit hours in the fall or spring semester, nor may the student enroll for more than 15 graduate credits in the two summer sessions combined. Exceptions to the limitation are automatic for programs that require more graduate credits in a given semester. Students should check with their department to learn if their department requires additional graduate credit hour registration. Other exceptions require the graduate advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

To qualify for financial benefits as a full-time student under programs of the Social Security Administration and/or for certain loan agreements, students must carry a  minimum of nine credit hours during the fall and/or spring semester.  For shorter sessions, contact the financial aid office. To qualify for financial benefits as a full-time student under programs of the Veteran’s Administration, please refer to Rate of Pursuit in the Military and Veteran Services section for information on minimum loads for full-time status.

Unless financial or immigration requirements necessitate defining a minimum number of hours for status as a full-time graduate student, there is no minimum load requirement for graduate studies. It is expected that students will assess need, ability, and other factors judiciously and register for a class load that permits them to maintain academic standards.

In order to use CMU resources (e.g., computers, laboratories, equipment, faculty) during the regular academic year, graduate students must be registered for a minimum of one credit hour.

See Continuous Registration for more information.