Typical Course Loads
A typical class load for each quarter is 15 credits. If you complete 15 credits each quarter, and complete three quarters each year (autumn, winter, and spring), in four years you will have 180 credits, the number usually required for graduation.
Many UW courses are 5 credits, so many UW students take three 5-credit courses each quarter. A typical course schedule usually looks something like this:
|HIST 111||5 credits|
|FRENCH 101||5 credits|
|MATH 120||5 credits|
|=||15 credits total|
Twelve credits per quarter is the minimum to be considered a full-time student for financial aid. International students and student athletes are required to enroll in at least 12 credits each quarter, as well, and there may be other reasons to be a full-time student. However, the UW does not require that students attend full-time.
Recommended Course Loads
Full-time students typically enroll in 12-18 credits per quarter. Within the upper limits (see below), how many credits you take each quarter is up to you. If you don't have a part-time job and have very few other commitments, you might take 17 or 18 credits each quarter. If you are working, commuting, or have family responsibilities or other demands on your time, you should consider enrolling in fewer credits each quarter.
After a few quarters you'll develop a sense of what credit level works for you. For your first few quarters we strongly recommend that you keep your credit total on the low side. Most students are making many adjustments in their first few quarters in study habits and living arrangements. If you take too many credits in your first few quarters you may not have time to develop good habits and you could accumulate some bad grades that could put your first-choice major out of reach. There's plenty of time to bump up your credit level later if it seems like a good idea.
Undergraduates are limited to 19 credits during Period 1 and 2 registration. This allows all students a chance to develop a basic class schedule. Additional credits may be added starting the first day of the quarter (i.e., Period 3), when the limit becomes 30 credits per quarter.
Note that additional tuition is charged for each credit over 18.
The credit limits don't include Early Fall Start, Academic English Program (AEP) courses, Online Learning, or UW Professional and Continuing Education courses. For example, even though Early Fall Start courses are recorded with your autumn quarter courses, you may enroll in a 5-credit Early Fall Start course and up to 19 regular credits in autumn quarter.