Course Loads

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Financial Aid Awards

For financial aid awarding purposes, the following defines the number of semester hours for full and half-time:

Status 16-Week Semester 8-Week Session
Full-time..... 12 6
Half-time..... 6 3

Graduate students enrolled in fewer than 6 hours for fall and spring semesters or 3 hours for summer session are not eligible to obtain student loans.

Enrollment Certification

The following semester hours of credit are to be used to certify full-time and half-time attendance of graduate students.

Status 16-Week Semester 8-Week Session
Full-time..... 9 or more hours* 3 or more hours
Half-time..... 6 Less than 3 hours
Less than half-time..... Less than 6 hours -

*Students who hold at least quarter-time (25% FTE) graduate assistantships are considered full-time if they have a minimum of 8 semester hours.

Minimum and Maximum Course Loads

Maximum coursework for graduate students is 16 hours each semester; 9 hours is considered normal load. The minimum and maximum loads for graduate students under various types of financial support are summarized below, a graduate student must enroll in graduate-level course(s) (typically a 400- and 500-level course; certain 400-level courses are not available for graduate credit.) Please consult the Graduate Catalog for available 400-level graduate courses. Audit work will not qualify to meet the minimum load. An exception to the 16 credit hour maximum load may be possible only with advanced written permission of the graduate dean.

Graduate students with a Graduate Assistantship must enroll in a minimum of eight graduate credit hours during the fall/spring to receive a full tuition waiver. During the summer, a minimum of three graduate credit hours are required to receive a tuition waiver for up to 9 hours. Students with a Graduate Fellowship or SIU Scholarship must enroll in a minimum of nine graduate credit hours during fall/spring and three during the summer.

Type of Graduate Assistantships 16-Week Semester Max. 16-Week Semester Min. 8-Week Session Max. 8-Week Session Min.
No financial support 16 9
1/2 time appointment 16 8 9 3
1/4 time appointment 16 8 9 3
Full-time University employees 6 6
Graduate Fellowships 16 9 9 3
Full Veteran’s Benefits 16 9 9 3
SIU Scholarships 16 9 9 3

 All University employees who wish to use the employee tuition fee waiver (faculty and staff) and are classified as graduate students are only permitted to register for six hours. To request permission to take over six hours, a memo from their hiring department approving the extra hours must be submitted to the Graduate School Records Office. If graduate students’ enrollments fail to meet the minimum hours required by their type of financial support, the financial support will be terminated.