Number of Courses and Credits
One of your goals as a first-year student is to successfully complete enough courses and credits in both semesters to remain on pace to graduate in four years/eight semesters (five years/ten semesters for Architecture students and Arts and Letters/Engineering dual degree students). To that end, you must take four or five academic courses (3 or more credits each) and the FYS 10101 Moreau First Year Experience (1 credit) each semester of your first year. The exact number of courses and credits you must take depends on your academic interests and your college or school. See below for more information.
- Architecture, Arts and Letters, Business, and Global Affairs students must take at least 16 credits both semesters
- Students in Engineering must take at least 15 credits in the fall semester and at least 16 credits in the spring semester
- Science students must take at least 15 credits both semesters
The 15- or 16-credit minimum does not include voluntary 1- and 2-credit courses such as music lessons, music ensembles, ROTC, and Center for Social Concerns seminars. While these courses can be an integral part of your education at Notre Dame, many of them do not count towards the total number of credits required for graduation.
Students are not allowed to take six academic courses (3 or more credits each) in the fall semester. In the spring semester, students who made the Dean’s List based on their fall semester GPA may request to take six academic courses. This request must be approved by the director of First Year Advising.
The credit limit for first-year students is 19. If you want to take more than 19 credits because of voluntary 1- or 2-credit courses (music lessons, ROTC, etc.) or an intensive language course, email your first-year advisor at least two weeks prior to registration. The absolute maximum number of credits for undergraduate students is 21. There are no exceptions to this policy for first-year students.
Each college and school has its own policy for the number of courses and credits for first-year students based on its unique curricular requirements. These policies are designed to ensure you remain on pace to graduate on time.
School of Architecture
Architecture students must take five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 16 credits each semester.
College of Arts and Letters
Arts and Letters students (including those intending a supplementary major in Arts and Letters pre-health [APH2]) must take five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 16 credits each semester.
Neuroscience and behavior students who are taking 4-credit courses in biology, chemistry, and calculus have the option to take four courses and Moreau both semesters, although they are encouraged to take five courses and Moreau in the spring semester.
Arts and Letters students who are taking a 5- or 6-credit intensive language course should talk with their first-year advisor about the appropriate number of courses.
Mendoza College of Business
Business students must take five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 16 credits each semester. Some of the courses in the Business Core are 1.5 credits, so two of these courses together are considered equivalent to one of the five required courses.
College of Engineering
In the fall semester, Engineering students must take four or five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 15 credits. Your first-year advisor will help you choose whether to take four or five courses based on your academic background and goals. Students who choose to take four academic courses are encouraged to get involved in engineering clubs, focus on succeeding in their foundational Science and Engineering courses, and become further integrated into the academic community.
In the spring semester, Engineering students must take five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 16 credits to remain on pace for graduation.
Keough School of Global Affairs
Global Affairs students must take five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 16 credits each semester. Students who are taking a 5- or 6-credit intensive language course should talk with their first-year advisor about the appropriate number of courses.
College of Science
Science students must take four or five courses and Moreau for a total of at least 15 credits both semesters. Students who are taking three 4-credit Science courses (calculus, chemistry, and biology or physics) are strongly encouraged to take four courses so that they can focus on succeeding in these foundational courses.