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Posted 24 August 2023

College Credit Breakdown

For a bachelor’s degree, the average student will take 120 credits, with an additional 30-40 credits needed to obtain a master’s degree. Most colleges and universities consider someone taking 12-18 credits per semester a full-time student. Read more to learn what this could mean when it comes to time spent per credit in and out of classes.   

What Credits Mean 

Each credit typically means one hour spent in class. A two-credit course could mean anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours in class each week. However, this isn’t the only time commitment that should be considered. While it varies based on the course, your study style, if there are exams or finals coming up, and your understanding of the topic being taught, each credit can also equal about two hours spent studying outside of class each week. 

This means if you take 12 credits in a semester, you could spend 36 hours per week on the classes you’re taking. This includes 12 hours spent in class and another 24 studying, writing papers, working on projects, or doing lab work outside of the time you’re in class.  

Different for Everyone  

The number of credits to sign up for each semester is different for everyone. It will vary based on your selected major, if you’re working in addition to taking classes, the amount of schoolwork you’re willing to take on each semester, and your planned graduation date. 

Determining how many credits to take each semester can be challenging, especially when you consider the level of difficulty for each class, the times they’re offered, and which ones are required for your major. However, there are resources and people available to help! Make sure to meet with your advisers before signing up for classes as they know the ins and outs of your program. 



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