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Expected Course Load Per Semester

The usual course load is 16 credits or four 4-credit courses*; the minimum course load is 12 credits per semester.

You may not use prematriculation credit to take a reduced course load.

*Some language and science courses earn 5 credits per semester.

Credit Totals Per Year

First Year

1 semester = 16 credits
2 semesters = 32 credits

Sophomore Year

3 semesters = 48 credits
4 semesters = 64 credits

Junior Year

5 semesters = 80 credits
6 semesters = 96 credits

Senior Year

7 semesters = 112 credits
8 semesters = 128 credits

Transfer Students

When you arrive at Smith, the registrar will calculate the number of semesters required to complete your degree. Normally, the Administrative Board will not allow students to take an extra semester to complete a degree. If you have a shortage, speak with your adviser and class dean about a plan to make up credit. See Transfer Credit to learn more.

Credit Shortages

The Class Deans office monitors students' credit totals per semester to be sure that students are making satisfactory progress toward their degree. The deans send reminder notices to students who have accumulated credit shortages, and the Administrative Board may require students with shortages to earn credit in summer school. Normally, if you fall below 12 credits in one semester for any reason, the Administrative Board will require you to withdraw for the following semester.

Seniors with Credit Shortages

Rising seniors are expected to have earned 96 credits.

If you are finishing your junior year with fewer than 96 credits, you should discuss your plan for making up the missing credit with your adviser(s) and your dean, and submit the Senior Year Credit Plan (Word document) to the senior class dean for approval.

Senior year spring semester can be stressful! A plan that requires you to earn 24 credits in the spring of your senior year is probably not a good plan.

How to Make Up a Credit Shortage

If your shortage is 4 credits or less, you can take 1- and 2-credit Smith courses to make up the credit. There are 1- and 2-credit courses during interterm.

If the shortage is more than 4 credits, consider transferring credit from a summer school course to your record. Transfer credit must be approved in advance by the Registrar for domestic study or the Office of International study for course abroad. See Transfer Credit for more information.