Credits and Class Status
- First-Year 0 - 44
- Sophomore 45 - 89
- Junior 90 - 134
- Senior 135 or more
Credits and Credit Load
Credit hours are assigned to a class based on the amount and type of work expected from a typical student in class. Credit is awarded for courses only in the quarter in which the student is registered for the classes and completing the work.
Classes will be assigned one credit for each hour per week of classroom discussion or lecture, and one credit for every two hours per week of laboratory or practice/rehearsal involving some preparation or reporting.
Classes using different formats for at least part of the course will be assigned credit for amounts and types of work equivalent to those described above. When such a component is proposed, the type and amount of work involved must be described in detail. In particular, the activity for which credit is assigned must be structured and occur at regular or periodic intervals throughout the course, and faculty must supervise and evaluate students’ work in this activity.
Since each hour in a course requires at least two additional hours of study, and since students usually register for several courses, Western has established the following credit load policies for undergraduate students:
- The standard load per quarter for undergraduates is 15 credits. In order to graduate in four years, students must average 15 credits per quarter. NOTE: some majors require more than four years of study.
- During the first quarter of residence, a load must not exceed 17 credits; before registering for more than 15 credits, students should consult with their advisors
- After the first quarter of residence, the maximum allowable load is 20 credits per quarter; students are limited to 18 credits during Phase I of registration.
- An employed student is expected to reduce his or her academic program and credit load accordingly.
180 credits are the minimum number of credits required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University. Many majors require more than the minimum of 180 credits. In order to graduate in four years, a student should plan to enroll in an average of 15 credits each quarter. Undergraduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in order to be considered full-time (e.g., eligibility for financial assistance, full-time veterans’ benefits, participation in intercollegiate athletics, etc.) Graduate students, officially admitted to the Graduate School must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits for financial aid purposes and veterans’ benefits. Students are advised to check carefully to determine that they meet the definition of “fulltime enrollment” for the program in which they are participating.
The following table illustrates the minimum number of credits to be considered full time, three-quarter, or half time each quarter.
Full time: for financial aid eligibility, veteran’s benefits, athletic eligibility, enrollment verification to outside agencies
Three-quarter time: for financial aid eligibility, veterans' benefits
Half time: for financial aid eligibility, loan deferments, enrollment verification to outside agencies
Full fees are assessed to all students enrolled in 10 credits or more. Students enrolled in at least 10 credits are eligible to hold Associated Student office and obtain on-campus student employment.
Students enrolled in at least 8 credits are eligible to live in on-campus housing.
The Student Health Center is available to all students enrolled in 6 or more credits on WWU’s Bellingham campus. Students registered for 3 to 5 credits have the option of paying the counseling, health and wellness fee to use the services during a quarter. Former students, students on leave, dependents of students, faculty and staff of WWU, and Whatcom Community College students living on WWU’s campus are not eligible for these services.
Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits to be eligible for graduate teaching assistantships (TAs). If a graduate student has completed all the course work listed on the approved plan of study with the exception of the thesis (690) or research (691), the graduate student may remain eligible for the TA appointment by enrolling for as few as 2 credits (with prior approval from the Graduate School). Other graduate students who have completed all the course work listed on the approved plan of study with the exception of the thesis (690) or research (691) should consult with the Graduate School regarding the minimum credit requirements.
This table above applies to fall, winter and spring quarters only. Enrollment status and requirements for summer may differ. Please consult the appropriate program office.