The purpose of this policy is to specify the requirements for full-time status and half-time status for all students in the statement of academic load at Columbia College.
This policy applies to all students at Columbia College.
Academic Load Policy for Undergraduate Students
Definitions are based on a 16-week semester. A semester is defined as the sixteen-week term beginning in August, ending in December; the sixteen-week term beginning in January, ending in April or May; or the sixteen-week term beginning in May or June, ending in July or August. Full-time status is measured as enrollment in 12 hours or more per semester at Columbia College. Enrollment is determined after the add/drop period. Federal and state aid programs have varying requirements of eligibility in terms of required enrollment; please see individual aid types for more information.
Academic load for 16-week semester
- Full-time: 12 – 18 credit hours per semester
- Three quarter: 9 - 11.9 credit hours per semester
- Half-time: 6 - 8.9 credit hours per semester
- Less than half-time: 5.9 or less credit hours per semester
Columbia College policy allows traditional students to enroll for a full-time course load of up to 18 semester hours of credit in any one semester. Semester enrollment status is calculated by adding all hours (day, evening, and online) for which students are properly registered. See Traditional Campus Overload Policy (below) for information regarding enrolling in an overload of credits.
Evening, Online and Nationwide Venues
Columbia College policy allows students enrolled in an accelerated (eight--week session) to enroll for a full-time course load of up to nine (9) hours per eight-week session (18 semester hours of credit in any one semester). This includes courses taken through the evening program in Columbia, MO, online and venues nationwide. Semester enrollment status is calculated by adding all hours (in seat and online) for which students are properly registered. See Evening, Online and Nationwide Overload Policy (below) for information regarding enrolling in an overload of credits.
Academic Load Policy for Graduate Students
Students may take a maximum of six graduate credit hours per eight-week session. Students who desire to enroll in more than six graduate hours per session must obtain permission from the Dean of the student’s School. Enrollment status is measured over a 16-week semester and includes all semester credits for that period of time. Enrollment status for graduate students is defined as:
Academic load for graduate students
- Full-time: 6 graduate credit hours per semester
- Half-time: 3 - 5.9 graduate credit hours per semester
- Less than Half-time: Below 3 graduate credit hours per semester
MAT Post-Baccalaureate students may enroll in up to 18 semester hours of coursework per 16-week semester (not to exceed six hours of graduate coursework in any eight-week session).
Students desiring to take a course from a department outside the one to which they were admitted must obtain permission from the Chair of the Department for that course.
Students are charged an overload fee calculated from their semester enrollment status for hours above the attempted 18-hour maximum. The Dean of the student’s School must approve overloads, which may not exceed three semester hours per semester. Students requesting an overload must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Exceptions to the overload tuition fee are overloads resulting from choir, resident-assistant class for one credit, ROTC and college-sponsored activities. The fee for three hours of overload credit is waived for students with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 or higher, only if such students have accumulated at least 30 semester hours from Columbia College.
Evening, Online and Nationwide
Long experience in administering accelerated (eight-week academic session) college programs has taught us that it is generally not in the student’s best interest to enroll in more than nine (9) credit hours per session. Due to the fast pace of the course and the reduced time for reading, research, writing and reflection, a student’s academic performance will generally suffer if an overload of credit is attempted.
Students are required to obtain permission to enroll in ten hours or more during an eight-week session. This includes courses taken through the evening and online programs, and at our venues nationwide. Only those students close to graduating from Columbia College, with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average and a compelling reason to take a course overload in an eight-week session may apply to their home venue director. Students must first visit with their advisor to discuss all available alternative options. If an overload is approved, there will be no overload fee charged.
An overload is approved on a semester basis, allowing students to enroll in either or both eight-week modules during that semester as an overload. However, the overload in the second module is contingent on outcomes (grades) in the first module (poor outcomes may result in a student’s overload approval being revoked). Systematically, this will require an overload be entered for both modules (it cannot be done on a semester basis).