Feb 28, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
    
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024

Academic Load/Time Status for All Graduate Students


UNC Charlotte uses a standard Academic Load to determine time status of graduate students for Loan Deferment, Financial Aid, Visa Status, Payroll Tax Withholding, Graduate Student Support Plan Eligibility, and Veteran’s Benefits.  This Academic Load is the only resource used to determine a student’s status for these purposes, and the following definitions apply to all graduate students, U.S. and international, participants and non-participants in the Graduate Student Support Plan.

An appropriate course load is dependent upon two factors: (1) the scholastic ability of the student as reflected by their academic history and (2) the time available for study.  A course load of 9 credit hours constitutes a normal full semester program for a graduate student in a Fall or Spring semester, while 6 credit hours constitutes a normal full load in the Summer.  This is lower than the normal undergraduate load because of the extensive reading, independent thinking, and individual research required of graduate students.  Graduate students should not register for more than 12 credit hours during a Fall or Spring semester or 9 credit hours in a Summer term.

Students who hold an eligible graduate assistantship may hold the assistantship with 6 credit hours, unless they participate in the Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP) in which case they must be full-time enrolled as defined below.  Students enrolled in 6 credit hours, however, are not considered to be enrolled full-time.

International students on F-1 visa/status are required, by immigration regulations, to pursue a full course load during each academic semester, except during official school breaks (e.g., summer vacation and winter holidays) unless a reduced course load is approved in advance by the Designated School Officer (DSO) at the International Student Scholar Office.  Failure to enroll for a full course load without prior approval is considered a violation of the F-1 legal status.  International students who hold a graduate assistantship must be full-time enrolled as defined below.

Fall and Spring Semesters

Graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program with a dissertation or in a master’s program and pursuing the thesis option.

  • Full-Time students must:
    • Enroll in at least 9 credit hours per semester, or
    • Have completed coursework and the number of thesis/dissertation hours for credit in their graduate degree program, as well as the requisite milestones, and are approved to take GRAD 9800  or GRAD 7800  for 3 credit hours (may be repeatable with prior approval), or
    • Have completed everything for their graduate degree program with the exception of the final defense, and the defense is scheduled within four weeks of the beginning of a semester, and are approved to take GRAD 9999  or GRAD 7999  (one time only).
  • Three Quarter (3/4) Time: 7-8 credit hours
  • Half (1/2) Time: 5-6 credit hours
  • Less than Half (1/2) Time: 1-4 credit hours
  • Maximum Load: 12 credit hours

Graduate students enrolled in a degree program not requiring a thesis or dissertation.

  • Full-Time: 9 or more credit hours
  • Three Quarter (3/4) Time: 7-8 credit hours
  • Half (1/2) Time: 5-6 credit hours
  • Less than Half (1/2) Time: 1-4 credit hours
  • Maximum Load: 12 credit hours

Summer Terms

Graduate students enrolled in any program.

  • Full-Time: 6 or more credit hours
  • Three Quarter (3/4) Time: 4-5 credit hours
  • Half (1/2) Time: 3 credit hours
  • Less than Half (1/2) Time: 1-2 credit hours
  • Maximum Load: 9 credit hours