Overloads

Enrollment in more than 24 credit hours is not permitted under the new policy once it is fully implemented.

Students who would like to pursue a course overload must meet the following general conditions:

  • Must be a continuing student (have completed at least one full semester); see below for guidance on first-year students.
  • Must not have any outstanding incomplete (“I”) grades from any previous semester.
  • Must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) greater than or equal to 2.0 (based on at least one full-time semester) at the time of the request. Must also meet the term (semester) grade point average as outlined in the chart below.
  • Must submit a Course Overload Petition in order to overload with 20-24 credits. (See information below for continuing students)
  • Overload credit cannot be used to accelerate graduation except as permitted by the relevant College policies (See Acceleration and Enrollment Policy)
Overload Criteria
Total Enrolled CreditsCriteria
20–23 creditsMinimum of a 3.0 term grade point average (GPA) in the previous semester.
24 creditsMinimum of a 3.4 term grade point average in the previous semester.

 

Registration

Students may pre-register for up to 23 credits in UR Student during registration for the following semester. Students who wish to register for more than 23 credits, must submit a drop/add form. Upon completion of the semester, students registered for 20 or more credits in the subsequent term must meet the requirements stated above or they will be expected to adjust their schedule so that they are enrolled in fewer than 20 credits.

Credits associated with audited courses count towards course overload restrictions. Students auditing a course should make note of this restriction. Additionally, audited courses do not count toward full-time status. More information is available in the Advising Handbook under audits.

Dual degree students in the Eastman School of Music and College should review the special conditions section below for specifics on how the policies apply to their program.

Overloading: Special Conditions

First semester students: No student in their first semester may take more than 19 credits. However, first-semester transfer students may submit a petition to be considered for a course overload in their first semester. The review of the petition would take into consideration their performance at their previous college or university.

Seniors: Overloads in the senior year are subject to the same conditions above, but permissions for exceptions to these rules may be allowed based on the individual student’s circumstances (curricular, financial, etc.). In the overload petition, seniors must explain how the requested course overload is necessary to complete all graduation requirements by Commencement. Seniors in this situation are strongly encouraged to speak with an advisor in CCAS to discuss their plans for registration and graduation, including other possibilities to complete degree requirements.

Dual degree students (Eastman School of Music/College): Eastman-primary dual degree students follow the Eastman guidelines on overloads and are not subject to this policy. River Campus primary dual degree students may register for up to 28 credits when required by their academic programs of study.

River Campus primary dual degree students wishing to overload for more than 23 credits must petition the Office of Academic Affairs at the Eastman School of Music.

Course Overload Requests

Process for Overload Requests for Continuing Students

Students are expected to discuss their plans to overload with an advisor (either College advisor, major advisor, or CCAS advisor) before submitting the petition.

Students will be required to submit a Course Overload Petition and an online drop/add form listing the additional requested courses (up to 24 credits). In all cases, students must submit, as part of the petition, a written justification (3-5 sentences) for their plan to overload. Students will also be required to identify those courses taken as an overload. Petitions received without the justification will not be reviewed.

The petition will be evaluated on the student’s ability to complete the proposed coursework, course fit with the student’s current educational goals and programs of study, presence of courses with non-standard credits (e.g. five- or six-credit courses), and the nature of the courses (e.g. independent studies or research, supervised teaching, etc.).

To reserve space in courses, continuing students are permitted to pre-register for up to 23 credit hours. This is a temporary registration status, however, and students must submit a petition to remain enrolled. The deadline for fall registrations is July 1; the deadline for spring registration is January 5. If a petition form is not received by the deadline, course registration will be adjusted to the appropriate credit hours by the Registrar.

Students wishing to register for 24 credits must petition and receive permission before enrolling. A drop/add form must also be submitted. It is not necessary to submit a separate petition in addition to the petition to register for 20 credits, but the petition should include specific justification for the additional course(s) toward the 24 credits.

A copy of the drop/add form is retained in the student’s academic record.

Summer Overloads

Students can enroll in up to 12.99 credits for the entire summer session. Matriculated UR students (students enrolled in a University of Rochester degree program) who wish to enroll in more than 12.99 credits, should discuss their plans with an advisor in CCAS and are reminded to review the summer sessions calendar for important deadlines. To register for an overload, students should submit a Matriculated Drop/Add Form with the total number of credits they wish to take and submit it to ccasrec@ur.rochester.edu for approval.

Financial Aid

Federal regulations require that universities monitor the academic progress of students who are eligible for financial aid. Undergraduate students should be aware that they will reach their maximum time frame for degree completion once they have accumulated a total of 192 attempted credits. While it is rare to reach this threshold, students who consistently overload and carry a large number of credits should be aware of this policy. For more information, students should discuss their situation with their academic advisor and their financial aid counselor.

FAQ – Overload Policy

Why has the College modified the overload policy?

The College has been evaluating a change to the policy for the last several years. There are two major reasons for this change.

First, faculty and administrators in the College have noted an increase in student concerns about burn-out, mental and physical fatigue, and depression or anxiety. Some have called this “toxic Meliora” when associated with peer pressure or personal motivations to keep adding additional activities or work to one’s life. These concerns can lead to mental health issues, poor work-life balance, poor academic outcomes, and even such issues as academic honesty violations. These are damaging to the students experiencing these issues and they are a source of worry for everyone in the College. The credit hour cap (i.e., a maximum of 24 credits allowed each semester) is meant to help students navigate these situations by reducing pressure to “do more.” It is consistent with a longstanding College value that students benefit from a deeper, more robust engagement with a smaller number of courses as opposed to maximizing how many are taken.

Second, the College has an obligation to ensure that the contact hours and workload associated with courses is consistent with their credit hours. This is a federal government mandate with implications for accreditation and federal financial aid, among other issues. This policy change will assist the College in meeting its requirements.

When does the new overload policy come into effect?

The new policy is being phased in for students.

New first-year or transfer students starting in fall 2021 are subject to the policy with spring 2022 registration (starting November 15). Students who started coursework at the University of Rochester before fall 2021 will be subject to the policy starting in fall 2022. The policy will be in effect for pre-registration for Fall 2022 courses in the spring semester.

Students enrolling beginning in Spring 2022 will be subject to the first semester overload policy, which limits those students to 19 credits total. Transfer students starting in spring 2022 may petition for an exception to this policy, which may be approved in rare cases based on the student’s academic plans and history.

What if I am a dual degree student?

Eastman-primary students in the Eastman/College dual degree program will not be subject to this policy.

River Campus-primary students in the Eastman/College dual degree program will be subject to this new policy per the effective dates above. Students may petition the Eastman and College dean’s offices for approval to enroll in up to 28 credits by filling out this form.

(Note: this form should only be used for Eastman/College dual degree students or Eastman School of Music students. No other requests from students in the College will be accepted through this form.)

What do I do if I want to overload in Spring 2022 and started coursework prior to Fall 2021?

You will be able to register in UR Student for up to 23 credits in the pre-registration period starting November 15. You may register for 24 credits by using a drop/add form. To register for more than 24 credits, you must petition using a Course Overload Petition and submit a drop/add form for the additional course. As part of the transition, you do not need to provide a rationale on this form to overload for spring 2022 courses.

Any student registering for 20 or more credits is subject to the GPA requirements for the previous semester as outlined in the policy. Students not meeting these requirements will be expected to adjust their schedule to reduce their credits under the maximum allowed for their situation.

What do I do if I started coursework in Fall 2021 and want to overload in Spring 2022?

You are subject to the new policy for spring 2022 registration, so the first step is to fully review and make sure you understand the policy.

You will be able to register in UR Student for up to 23 credits in the pre-registration period starting November 15. If you intend to overload for 20-24 credits, you will need submit this a Course Overload Petition. As part of the form, you will need to provide a justification for the overload. This rationale is 3-5 sentences that explain the rationale for the overload, identify the courses that will constitute the overload, explain for your strategies for managing the increased workload, and highlight how this overload fits into your overall academic plan. These justifications will be reviewed by the College Dean’s Office and CCAS as part of the overload approval process, so you must complete this step. Since UR Student will not permit registration for 24 credits, you will also be expected to submit a drop/add form if your planned schedule exceeds 23 credits.

You are encouraged to speak with your College advisor, major advisor or a faculty advisor before submitting a petition to assist you in your academic planning and justification for overloads.

Why am I encouraged to speak with an advisor before overloading?

Overloading allows students to explore courses and expands their academic options, but the additional coursework may come with stresses and strains that cause mental, emotional and physical costs to the student. Advisors are a key resource to provide more objective advice on your situation, based often on years of experience with other students in similar situations. This advice isn’t binding – your education is your own – but it can offer a useful perspective for evaluating options.

Are any additional tuition charges applicable if I choose to overload?

No additional charges are assessed. Students who pay the full-time tuition rate are eligible to overload at no additional charge

What about overloads in summer?

Students are allowed to enroll for up to 12.99 credits in total in the summer. Students wishing to complete 13 or more credits should review the guidance in the policy. The registration process for summer operates on different rules and restrictions than during the academic year. Students who wish to overload in the summer are also expected to submit a Course Overload Petition and explain their rationale.