Student FAQ

Why am I being encouraged to register for fifteen or more credits each semester?

Most four-year degree programs average of between 120 and 128 credit hours. If you are completing less than 15 credits per semester, chances are good that it will take longer than four years to complete your degree.

But isn’t 12 credit hours considered full time?

That’s true—12 is the minimum amount of credits needed to be considered a full-time student. But since most degree programs are built on a minimum of 15 credit hours, taking 12 credits at a time will likely put you behind schedule.

Registering for 15 credits also gives you a bit of a safety net if you absolutely needed to drop a class. You would still be considered a full-time student. However, if you were only registered for 12, withdrawing from a course would make you a part-time student, which could impact your financial aid, housing and other aspects of your college experience.

Does graduating in more than four years create any potential challenges?

Extending the time it takes to get your degree has some real financial consequences. The longer it takes to get a degree, the more expensive that degree can become. You could end up paying more in tuition and fees.

However, taking more than 15 credits can save you money. Syracuse's tuition rates allow students to take up to 19 credits a semester, and many ambitious students regularly carry 18 credits a semester.

Can I start out registering for fewer than 15 credits and then make up credits in later years?

We recommend that you start strong to finish strong. Taking at least 15 credits in your early semesters gives you more flexibility to take electives, study abroad, absorb unexpected disruptions or add a minor.  Also, you might find you have room in your schedule to pursue internships and career opportunities in your junior and senior years.

There are other benefits to a strong early start. For example, your amount of completed credits affects your registration time, as upper-level students register first. Earning 30, then 60, then 90 credits from your freshmen to your junior year ensures you register on time. Students who fall below these levels register with the student group from the year before, regardless of length of attendance.

Will I have enough time for other things, like work and other activities?

A 15-credit hour schedule is reasonable and doable. Your advisor can help you build a schedule that allows for plenty of time for out-of-class study, employment and relaxing with friends.

How can I create a schedule that helps me stay on track?

Our academic advisors are here to help. Your advisor has deep knowledge of your program requirements and also understands your personal goals. This means they can build a schedule that makes the best sense for you.