Student Unit Load

Full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters is:

  • Undergraduate, credential, and second baccalaureate students: 12 or more units
  • Master’s degree and certificate students: 8 or more units
  • Doctoral students: 6 or more units

These definitions derive from federal financial aid regulations and have no bearing on the definitions used by California to determine a student’s liability for the State University Fee. Refer to Tuition and Fees for more details about how tuition and fees are calculated.

On average, students are expected to spend two hours of preparation and study for each hour of class time. For example, a 3-unit lecture or discussion course normally demands a commitment of nine hours per week averaged over the semester, with the class meeting for three hours per week. This may be considered sufficient time to enable a student to do satisfactory work. Students who desire to achieve A or B grades may wish to spend proportionately more time in their studies. Students are advised to use good judgment in planning their programs and should make allowances for outside employment and other obligations.

During the fall and spring semesters, the maximum unit load is 18 units (Policy Statement 14-02). In the winter term, the maximum unit load is 4 units. For the summer term, the maximum unit load is 1 unit per week, plus 1 additional unit (normally 7 for one 6-week session, 10 for two overlapping sessions, and 14 for an entire summer). 

Maximum Unit Exceptions (Overloads)

If you wish to enroll in more than the maximum number of units for a term (considered an “overload”), you must submit a request for a Maximum Unit Exception. Exceptions are considered only if you have both a demonstrated need for the overload (usually to avoid undue delay in graduation) and the demonstrated ability to succeed in a heavy course load. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.