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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.

How to Submit a Request for a Maximum Unit Exception

Requests are submitted through MyCSULB Student Center. You may submit a request starting three weeks before the first day of classes each term and, if approved, you must register for your additional class(es) before the deadline to enroll (refer to Key Dates and Deadlines for exact dates). Approval of your major advisor and the associate dean of your major is required.

To submit a request:

  1. Log in to MyCSULB Student Center. Under Academics, select Enrollment Adjustments.

Academics section with mouse pointer hovering on Enrollment Options

  1. Select Maximum Unit Exception.

Enrollment Petitions menu with mouse pointer on Extra Unit Petition

  1. Select Create New Request to start a new request.
  2. Select the term for which you’re requesting additional units.
  3. Provide the required information:

Planned courses section with courses added

  • Enter the number of hours per week that you plan to work (if you’re employed) and the total number of units you plan to enroll in at CSULB if your overload is approved.
  • The classes you’re already enrolled in are listed in the Planned Courses section. Select Add Course to add each additional class you plan to enroll in for the term.
  • Provide a personal statement that explains why the overload is necessary.
  • You may also attach any supporting documents.
  1. When you’re finished, select Submit to send your request for approval.

Your request will automatically be sent to the required approvers. You’ll receive an email once your request has been processed. You can check the status of your request by returning to the Maximum Unit Exception page.