Normal Semester Load


Traditional-age students working toward a degree normally enroll in 16 credits (four courses) each full semester. Enrollment in 12 or more credits is considered a full-time load. Traditional-age students are expected to divide these credits across both the three-week and 12-week sessions of the fall and spring semesters in ways to benefit their plan of study.

However, every traditional-age student is expected to be in a course in each three-week session or to be earning credits through other approved learning experiences. Permission to be exempt from this expectation can be sought from the Associate Academic Deans in Founders 210.

When calculating full-time status in the summer, the two sessions of summer school are considered one term rather than calculating each session separately.

Guilford assigns course credit hours on the combination of student effort outside, as well as inside, the classroom. For example, in 4-credit courses students are expected to spend 12 hours per week of consistent effort outside the classroom. This expectation is based on the faculty-approved standard that students are awarded 1 credit for every three hours per week that the typical student is expected to spend on coursework. This policy stems from the College’s Quaker heritage that encourages students to be active partners with faculty in the learning process. One of Guilford’s five academic principles, “student-centered learning,” means that Guilford expects faculty members to “serve less as lecturers and more as tutors, resource persons and critics.” As a result, the College considers student interaction with faculty, other students, community members and organizations outside the classroom as vital to the learning experience. In addition to standard reading, research projects and papers, Guilford faculty members who teach courses that yield 4 credit hours and meet the standard 2.5 hours per week in classroom time are expected to incorporate learning activities outside of the classroom which may include, but are not limited to:

•Conferences and workshops

•Experiential and service-learning

•Fieldwork and field trips

•Modern language conversation tables

•Group work and cooperative work


•Online discussion groups


•Lectures, performances and films

•Research projects