Starting this fall, UTD undergraduates will be allowed to take a maximum of 19 credit hours in a long semester without special permission.
In previous semesters, students who wished to take more than 18 hours had to obtain permission from the Associate Dean of their school. After reviewing the student’s academic record and intended course selections, the school’s administration would determine whether a course load greater than 18 credits was appropriate. The decision to change the maximum to 19 was based on findings of no statistically significant difference between the GPAs of students who took 18 and 19 credit hours in a semester.
Dean of Undergraduate Education Jessica Murphy said that the University periodically reviews policies in the course catalog to ensure that they are best meeting students’ needs.
“Such review includes research of historical institutional data and research of peer and aspirant peer institutions,” Murphy said. “Reviewing the course load policy revealed that 19 SCH would be the most beneficial change for students.”
The change first proceeded through the Council of Undergraduate Education, followed by the Committee on Educational Policy and then finally the Academic Senate, where it was approved at a January 2021 meeting.
A related modification to course policy is the addition of an absolute cap on enrollment at 21 hours. Murphy said that this is already in line with general practice, but the new policy puts it in writing.
“The policy review revealed that students would benefit from clearer language about course load,” Murphy said. “Including the 21 SCH in the language helped to clarify this section.”
Students wishing to take 20 or 21 credit hours are now required to discuss their plans with their academic adviser and complete a unit maximum waiver form.
The new enrollment caps as well as other course load-related policies can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.