How many courses should you take in a semester? What about working?

Taking on a full course load

  • In University Programs, a full course load is normally 5 courses per semester, or 15 semester credits. No students may register in more than 18 credits per semester. Exceptions to this rule require the written permission of the Dean of the discipline in which the student proposes to take most of the courses. Exempt from this rule are students in programs that require 18 or more semester credits. A full-time student is one who is enrolled in a minimum of 60 percent course load.
  • If you are on the wait list for your first choice courses, add more courses than you plan to take so that, if you do not get seats, you can still be registered in the number of courses that you wish to have or need for funding or other purposes.
  • Wait lists usually shorten as the semester start date draws nearer, but make sure you know the last day to drop a course without having to fully pay for it and properly drop any courses you do not plan on taking before tuition is calculated.
  • Courses can be dropped by withdrawing through your VIU Student Record, or by going to Registration in Building 200 and withdrawing in person at the Registration counter.

Pros of a full course load

  • You will get to start your career earlier by completing your degree within 4 years.
  • You will be more focused on school than you would if you worked full time and attended school on a part time basis.
  • You will be more involved in the school experience and setting; By being immersed in the school culture, you are more likely to create relationships with your fellow students and your teachers which results in less chance of dropping out of school.
  • You are eligible for bursaries, student work op positions, as well as student loans (60% may be suff

Cons of a full course load

  • You may not be able to afford to attend full time. This may be avoided by working full time in the summer as well as applying for financial assistance, scholarships and bursaries.
  • You may not be sure of which courses to take. This can be avoided by taking electives to see what you are interested in, or visiting advising in building 200 for assistance.

The pros of working part-time while going to school

  • You have less time to procrastinate resulting in the need to organize efficiently to get assignments and readings done on time.
  • You are more organized with due dates and more motivated to complete your assignments.
  • With a little jingle in your pocket, you are less likely to stress out about money for gas, rent, etc.
  • You will have a little money to enjoy activities that cost and will not have to rely on your imagination and free opportunities.
  • Research says that you are more satisfied with your schooling when you are balancing school with some part-time work (10 - 12 hours/week).  

The cons of working part time while going to school

  • Working more then fifteen hours can be demanding on your school load which can lead to a lower grade point average (GPA) due to the possibility of
  • A lower GPA due to the lack of attention to school work and energy in the classroom
  • The lack of time to put into your studies
  • The inability to see your professors during their office hours to get assistance.
  • Put yourself at risk of being placed on Academic Probation because of paying less attention to school work based on heavy work load.