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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

1 semester = 16 credits
2 semesters = 32 credits

3 semesters = 48 credits
4 semesters = 64 credits

5 semesters = 80 credits
6 semesters = 96 credits

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 Academic 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 Academic 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 Academic Board will require you to withdraw for the following semester.

Students are expected to earn 96 credits by the start of the first semester of senior year, 112 credits by the start of the second semester of senior year, and at least 128 credits in order to graduate. Students finishing their junior year with fewer than 96 credits, or who have accumulated a credit shortage within the first semester of their senior year, must discuss a plan to make up the missing credit with their adviser(s) and submit the completed plan to the Class Deans Office for approval.

Senior Year Credit Plan Form

The linked form is located on Google Sheets, as a view-only document. In order to fill the form out, please create a duplicate copy of the form and follow the steps outlined on the first tab of the document. The first tab is formatted as a checklist, providing you with the ability to check off each step as you fill out your form. When the form is completed, please download the document as a pdf (or print it) by following step number 4 on the checklist.

Submit your completed and signed form to the Academic Board email (

Please remember that the spring semester of your senior year 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.

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.