Apr 12, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Credit Policies

Credit Hour Policy

For each credit hour in the classroom, it is recommended that a student spend a minimum of two hours on course-related work outside of the classroom.  An equivalent amount of work is expected in lab, studio, independent study and online courses.

The academic year typically consists of two semesters that are 15 weeks, including a one-week exam period, and a five-week winter session (4-1-4).  In a 15-week term, one lecture (taught), seminar (discussion), or online (taken) credit hour represents 1 hour per week of scheduled class/seminar time and two hours of student preparation time outside of class.  A lecture, seminar, or online course awarded three credit hours represents 45 hours of class time and at least 90 hours of student preparation time over the term.  Summer, winter, and online program terms are typically less than 15 weeks, but adhere to the credit hour policy in terms of total meeting time and the total amount of work required.  Thus courses that meet fewer than 15 weeks must include proportionately more in class time and out-of-class student preparation time per week.

One 15-week laboratory credit hour represents one hour per week of lecture or discussion time plus 1-2 hours per week of scheduled supervised or independent laboratory work, and two hours of student preparation time.

One credit hour for 15 weeks of visual or performing arts studio, supervised student teaching, supervised clinical practicum/rounds, field work, independent study, etc. represents 3-4 hours per week of supervised and/or independent practice.  This in turn represents between 45 and 60 hours of work per 15-week semester.


Calculation of Credit Hours

Calculation of credit hours at the University of Delaware are consistent with the following U.S. Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour. These guidelines are also in compliance with policies set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

The Faculty Senate has a yearly course approval process.  The approval process includes the course detail term, “credit” which must be assigned to each proposed or revised course.  Credits are assigned in accordance with the above U.S. Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour.

Approved courses are sent to the Office of the University Registrar for inclusion in the UD Academic Catalog.  The Registrar’s Office reviews the class schedules prior to the start of each semester to ensure that all classes are scheduled for the minimum number of minutes corresponding to the credits assigned.

What Year Are You?

A student’s year (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) is based on the number of earned credit hours at the time of admission.

Classification Credit Hours Earned
Freshman 27 or fewer
Sophomore 28 to 59
Junior 60 to 89
Senior 90 or more

Your advisor can help you plan which courses to take each semester so that you can graduate in a timely manner.


Academic Course Load: Full-time/Part-time Status

Full-Time Undergraduates*

Students who are enrolled for 12 credit hours or more during the fall or spring semesters are considered full-time, although 15 credit hours is a normal load*. In order to “finish in four” students need to complete a minimum of 30 or more credits per academic year. Students who are enrolled for 6 credit hours or more during the winter or summer sessions are considered full-time. A normal schedule consists of four or five major courses, subject to the following credit limitations:

  • For freshmen, a normal load should not exceed 17 credits, excluding SkilMod, military science, and activity courses in music and physical education. A reduced schedule of four academic courses, plus SkilMod, may be suggested for some freshmen by faculty advisors.
  • For upperclass students not on probation, a normal load should not exceed 18 credits, unless prescribed by the curriculum.
  • Approval by the student’s Assistant Dean’s office is needed to take more than 18 credits, assuming the student has maintained a cumulative gpa of 2.5, and has a 3.0 grade-point index in the preceeding semester. Students are never allowed to register for more than 22 credits, including pass/fail and courses taken as an auditor.
  • Students on Academic Probation may be enrolled in a maximum of 14 credits.
  • In determining course load for University purposes, registration as an auditor or pass/fail is included. Zero-level courses (e.g., MATH 010 ) also determine course load, although they do not count toward credit for graduation.

Part-Time Undergraduates*

Any student registered or enrolled for fewer than 12 credits during the fall or spring semesters is classified as a part-time student. Part-time students admitted to the University’s undergraduate division are also considered degree candidates. All other students attending on a part-time basis are classified as Professional and Continuing Studies (CEND) students, i.e., not pursuing a formal degree. For purposes of determining course load, registration as an auditor or pass/fail is included.


The Assistant Dean’s office of the student’s college may approve a course and credit load greater than those defined above if the student has a cumulative grade-point index of at least 2.5 and an index of at least 3.0 for the preceding semester. Students are never allowed to register for more than 22 credits, even if some courses are completed on a Pass/Fail or auditor basis.

*Special Note

The definitions of full and part-time stated above are those generally used by the University. Other organizations or agencies may use different definitions. Determinations of full or part-time status for other purposes, such as Federal Financial Aid, eligibility for athletic participation under NCAA rules, scholarship eligibility, etc. are made using the guidelines of the governing organizations or agencies. For example, for Federal Financial Aid reporting purposes, credit hours in courses a student is auditing or has withdrawn from do not count towards full-time status.


Transfer Credit Policy

The University of Delaware accepts credits from higher education, degree-granting institutions that are regionally-accredited by the appropriate body and at the appropriate higher educational level. Institutions outside the US must have comparable recognition by the national Ministry of Education of that country. College level coursework completed at degree-granting colleges/universities with other accreditation may be eligible for transfer credit. Contact the Office of the University Registrar (transfercredit@udel.edu) for additional information.

To transfer credits from approved institutions, students must submit official transcripts and official test scores from acceptable sources. Coursework will only transfer for grades of “C” or better in college-level courses. Remedial coursework, CLEP scores, Pass/Fail grades, and life experiences are not accepted for transfer of credit. Course content not aligning with the University’s curriculum may not transfer. Additionally, academic departments may require students to repeat outdated courses and/or coursework completed more than seven calendar years earlier. Courses taken under a different credit system will be converted to UD semester hours, ex: quarter hours x 2/3 (or .67) = semester hours.

The Office of the University Registrar will complete a preliminary evaluation of transfer credit for students offered admission to the University of Delaware. At times, courses that received a preliminary evaluation of general elective credit may prove to be directly equivalent to a UD course, if re-evaluated by the appropriate academic department. Only admitted students that have earned and transferred credits to UD may pursue re-evaluation - third-parties, parents, etc. may not pursue re-evaluation of coursework. Students pursuing re-evaluation of departmental elective credits will need to provide course descriptions for faculty review. The final determination regarding equivalent coursework and the number of credit hours applicable to the program at the University of Delaware rests with the academic departments.

Students enrolled at the University of Delaware who wish to complete coursework for credit at another institution must complete a Transfer Credit Evaluation form and obtain their assistant dean’s approval prior to enrolling in such courses in order to assure transfer-ability of coursework. Credits and quality points for work completed elsewhere will not be included in the student’s University of Delaware cumulative grade-point index. For more detailed instructions regarding approval procedures, visit the Office of the University Registrar’s transfer credit website.

Students who want to know whether the course(s) they are taking or plan to take will transfer to the University of Delaware may consult the Transfer Credit Matrix. The Transfer Credit Matrix is designed to be a resource to identify potential transfer credit and associated University of Delaware course equivalents from completed course work at other academic institutions.

Credit-Hour-in-Residence Requirements

Students taking coursework at other institutions should be aware of the University’s credit-hour-in-residence policy. To receive a University of Delaware baccalaureate degree, admitted students must complete 90 of the first 100 credits or 30 of the last 36 credits, full- or part-time, at the University of Delaware. To receive an associate degree, at least 31 of the required 60 credits must be earned at the University of Delaware. Additional baccalaureate credit hour residency requirements may be required within individual majors and minors. Students with questions about meeting this requirement should consult the Assistant Dean of their college.

The policy about Delaware residency classification for tuition and fee purposes can be found here .


Transfer Credit for Military Experience

The University of Delaware awards credit for military service. Students must submit official documents, either the Joint Services Transcript or Community College of the Air Force transcript, for evaluation by the appropriate departments. See Transfer Credit for Military Experience for additional information.


Exceptions To Requirements

Specific degree requirements may be modified with permission and approval from the department chair and/or dean’s office, upon petition by the student and presentation of a compelling case. Any approved exemptions, waivers, or course substitutions need to be submitted via the Course Substitution webform (see here for assistance) so that the modification will be reflected in the student’s degree audit. Courses can be revised in future cycles to include or remove University or college-level designations (Breadth, Multicultural, Capstone, etc.). These courses are not applicable for exceptions or substitutions if taken when it did not have a designation and was revised to include the designation.


A student may request to be excused from a course requirement, receiving no credit for the course and no reduction in the total number of credits required for the degree.


A student may request to be excused from a course requirement, thereby reducing the total number of credits required for the degree by the amount of credit for the course requirement being waived.

Substitution/Course Examination

A student may request permission to substitute one course for another with no reduction in the total number of credits required for the degree.


Earn Credit By Examination

All matriculated and Professional and Continuing Studies students may earn academic credit by taking an examination to demonstrate competence attained through professional experience or some similar learning experience. Credit by examination cannot be used when a student has previously enrolled in the University of Delaware course. Students interested in earning credit by examination for a specific course should contact the appropriate academic department. Credit by examination is not allowed in experimental or independent study courses. A credit-by-examination form, available on the Office of the University Registrar’s website, must be completed. A fee is also required. See the Undergraduate Admissions  page for information on “High School Work for College Credit”.


Course Repeat Policy

Credits from a course count only once toward a degree, unless specified as repeatable. Both the original and the subsequent grades earned from repeated courses calculate into the cumulative grade point index.
Courses of Similar Content

Certain courses cover similar content but are considered different courses, such as MATH 221  and MATH 241 .  Under certain circumstances, when a student changes majors for example, a student may be required by their major to take a course similar in content to a course already taken. Sometimes a course substitution can be used to fulfill the requirement.  In cases where a student has taken similar content courses where either course could satisfy a specific major requirement, only one of those courses can be used (e.g. a General Chemistry requirement will only count one of CHEM 103 , CHEM 107 , or CHEM 111  towards completion of that requirement).

Credits from both courses remain on the student’s record and count towards cumulative credits, and both factor into the cumulative grade point index.  Students should review course descriptions for additional information on which courses are considered similar in content.


Online Course Enrollment Rules

Individual departments may have additional rules concerning online courses. Assistant dean or advisor permission is needed in the following cases:

Students in this permission category In these Terms
Undergraduate students on academic probation (below 2.0 GPA) Fall/Spring
Students wishing to register for more than two online courses All
Students registered in an Associate of Arts degree All