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Academic Policies

Credit Definitions and Enrollment Policies

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University Credit
Unit of Credit, Definition
Graduate Credit for Seniors
Maximum Number of Units Allowed Per Semester
Class Standing/Classification
Full-Time Student Status

University Credit

University credit is the term used to identify all credit offered by the University of Arizona with the exception of correspondence credit and Special Examination for Credit. Only the grades of courses taken for University credit and by Special Examination for Grade are used in calculating the grade-point-average (GPA).

Unit of Credit, Definition

Utilizing the definition that an hour of work is the equivalent of 50 minutes of class time (often called a contact hour) or 60 minutes of independent-study work, university policy requires at least 45 hours of work by each student for each unit of credit. Contact hours required for specific types of courses are as follows:

  • At least 15 contact hours of recitation, lecture, discussion, seminar, or colloquium, as well as a minimum of 30 hours of student homework are required for each unit of student credit.
  • Workshops require at least 15 through 45 contact hours and the appropriate number of homework hours to comprise a total of at least 45 hours of work for each unit of credit.
  • Studios require at least 30 contact hours and at least 15 hours of homework for each unit of credit.
  • Laboratory courses must maintain a minimum of 45 contact hours per unit of credit.
  • Field trips are to be counted hour-for-hour as laboratory meetings.
  • Each unit of internship or practicum must require a minimum of 45 hours of work.

Since it would be virtually impossible for a student to complete satisfactorily 45 hours of work in less than one week, the policy regarding the duration of courses maintains that a course must cover at least a one-week period for every unit of credit given. During the summer session, however, 6 units of credit might be given over a five-week period.

It is understood that, when the official university calendar deviates from these guidelines, that calendar shall prevail.

It is also understood that the hour requirements specified above represent minimums for average students and that considerable deviation in excess of these requirements may occur, particularly at the graduate level.

Also see the Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual External Link Definition of a Unit of Credit (pdf) format.

Graduate Credit for Seniors

A senior within 15 units of completing requirements for graduation may register for graduate work if recommended by the head of the department offering the course and approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. A petition for Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Courses must be filed with the Graduate College at the time of registration or within 10 days thereafter. The Dean of the Graduate College will not approve a petition unless the senior has a grade-point-average (GPA) of 3.000 or better on all University Credit and is proceeding toward graduation as directly as possible. Under such a petition, seniors may enroll in 500-level courses for undergraduate or graduate credit (not both). Courses numbered at the 600, 700, and 900 levels are not open to undergraduates.

Just as graduate University Credit may be applied toward a bachelor's degree (as upper division credit) or a graduate degree (as graduate credit), graduate or professional level credit earned and transferred from another institution may be applied toward a baccalaureate degree at the UA only if it is not used to complete a graduate or professional degree at that institution. Professional degrees include (but are not limited to) such programs as law and medicine. Students may petition the acceptance of graduate or professional credit by submitting a Transfer Credit Appeal, along with a letter from the graduate or professional college stating that the courses in question were not/are not being applied toward a graduate or professional degree at that institution.

Dental and veterinary students in the programs of microbiology and veterinary science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, should also see, Special Conditions for DDS and DVM Candidates.

See the Graduation Services site for detailed instructions onExternal Link Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Courses, and contact your External Link Graduation Services advisor if you have questions.

Maximum Number of Units Allowed Per Semester

The maximum number of units allowed in fall and spring semesters is determined by the college in which you are enrolled.  Summer and winter unit maxima are determined by the session in which you are enrolled.  See below.  The maximum number of units include all work carried in residence as well as concurrent registration in correspondence, extension, or approved courses at other institutions.  Medical students please consult the College of Medicine.

Approval of the college dean is required for any student to exceed the maximum number of units allowed per semester.

Summer Session Unit Maxima:

  • Pre-session:  3 to 4 units (one course)
  • 1st Summer Session:  6 to 7 units (two courses)
  • 2nd Summer Session:  6 to 7 units (two courses)

Winter Session Unit Maxima:  3 to 4 units (one course)

Fall and Spring Unit Maxima:

College or School Maximum # of Units
Agriculture and Life Sciences 19
Architecture and Landscape Architecture 19
Arizona International College 19
Education 19
Engineering 19
Family and Consumer Sciences, School of 19
Fine Arts 19
Graduate College 16
Medicine, College of (Physiology Dept) 19
Humanities 19
Law 17
Nursing 19
Management 19
Pharmacy 19
Public Health 19
Science 19
Social and Behavioral Sciences 19
University College 19

Class Standing/Classification

Revised 2/28/07:  classification updated for College of Engineering.
Revised 2/1/09: A university-wide class standing policy replaces the college class standing system.

Undergraduates need to earn the following minimum number of units to attain the next higher classification:

  • 0 units for Freshman standing
  • 30 units for Sophomore standing
  • 60 units for Junior standing
  • 90 units for Senior standing

A studentís class standing does not necessarily correspond to the number of semesters or units required to complete all degree requirements, as some degree programs require more than 120 units. See the Academic Program Requirements Reports (APRRs) for the minimum number of units needed for each UA undergraduate degree program.

Full-Time Student Status

Full-time status for an undergraduate student varies with the college and study program, but ordinarily requires a load of at least 12 units per semester. Full-time status for graduate students is more widely variable, depending upon assistantship or associateship duties and the composition of the individual student's program. Students in doubt about their standing should check with the their college dean's office.


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