If you are a new international student, you may have hard time in the beginning trying to understand what credit hour stands for and how do they link to courses in the US schools. Everyone around you would be talking the credit hour lingo and courses….it can be frustrating..I was recently asked by one of our readers about credit hours as well, let me share some of my thoughts on credit hours.
What are credit hours ?
What is the relation between course and credit hour ?
A course is typically measured in terms of number of credit hours. Based on the amount of work load and instruction hours, a course is assigned certain number of credit hours. Basic courses may be like 1 credit or 2 credits in Undergrad. As you take higher level ones in Undergrad, they may be range 3 to 4 credits. In masters most of the courses are either 3 or 4 credits. In Graduate school like MS or MBA, a normal course could typically be about 3 to 4 credit hours, depending on the course weight and load.
What is Credit hour work load, instruction time in class ?
Student Status either Full time or Part time based on credit hours ?
In Masters level, typically, if you take 6 credits or less your status is considered part time. If you take 9 or more credit hours, then it is considered full time. This varies slightly by school, but in general, that’s the rule. It does not matter how many courses you take, what counts is the number of credit hours. For instance, you may take one 3 credit course and two 1.5 credit courses, though you are taking 3 courses, still you are part time because you are taking less credits. In undergrad level, typically taking 12 credits is considered full time. Also, there may be limit on the number of credits you can take in a semester based on the school… As an international student, you are typically expected to be enrolled full time to maintain student status during normal terms like Fall or Spring. So, technically an international student has to take about 9 to 12 credit hours, depending on the school, to be in F1 student status, unless you are in graduating or summer semester.
Credit hours are used in GPA calculation as well, check this article How to calculate GPA in US schools . You have to be very careful in choosing your course load at least in the first semester..Read this article Why NOT to take more than 3 courses in MS first semester
What are your thoughts on Credit hours ? Were you full time or part time ?
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Reference : College Credit hour info