Understanding Credits and Academic Standing

What does it mean to be a full-time student? How many credits do students need to complete each year? What does it mean to be in “good academic standing”?

March 24, 2022
Woman studying in the grass

Starting college is an exciting time, and there are many new things to learn. At the top of the list is what are college credits, how many should students take each quarter, and when is a student considered a sophomore, junior, and senior?

College Credits

How many classes should I take each quarter?

In college, students are classified as either full-time or part-time students. These classifications are determined by the number of credits a student is enrolled in each quarter. At EWU, there are two ranges of credits required to meet full-time status:

  • For students receiving financial aid, they need to enroll in 12 – 18 credits.
  • For students who do not receive any financial aid, the range is 10 – 18 credits.

Since the number of credits a given student is required to take can vary based on their unique financial aid or scholarship situation, students are encouraged to consult EWU’s Financial Aid & Scholarships Office about their questions and requirements based on their aid package.

A typical course load for many students is 15 credits per quarter. Taking an average of 15 credits per quarter permits most students to earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. Courses vary by the number of credits but are typically between 3 and 5 credits each. That means a 15-credit course load could be three 5-credit courses. College classes are measured in credit hours, which is a number that helps to classify how much of a student’s time each course should take per week. One credit is equivalent to 1 hour of class time and approximately 2 hours of time outside of class completing homework, reading course materials, and studying.  

How many credits does a student need to have to be of freshman/sophomore/junior/senior status?

A student’s class standing is based on college credits earned (it does not include any classes students are currently registered for): 

Freshman: 0 – 44 credits | Sophomore: 45 – 89 credits | Junior: 90 – 134 credits | Senior: 135+ credits

How many credits does a student need to graduate from EWU?

A minimum of 180 quarter credits is required for graduation, though a handful of degrees require more. Within these 180 credits, students complete their general education requirements, major requirements, and any optional minors or elective courses needed to reach the 180 credits. A major is a specific subject area that students specialize in. Typically, between one-third and one-half of the courses a student takes in college will be in the major or related to it. Students can access the EWU catalog to learn more about majors they are interested in and how many credits are needed to complete a bachelor’s degree in that major.

Academic Standing

What does it mean to be in “good academic standing”?

Academic Standing is the status as a student at EWU. The goal is to be in Good Standing by making sure the cumulative EWU GPA remains at 2.0 or above. Many programs have additional GPA requirements, but students must be in Good Standing to remain at EWU. If students are under Academic Warning or Probation, their advisor will help get them back on track.

 Students are encouraged to reach out to their advisors and professors or seek out campus resources such as PLUS Tutoring and the Writer’s Center as soon as they feel they are struggling. For students not sure where to go, their advisor can help direct them.

Contact Information
Phone: 509.359.2345 (9:00-4:00 M-F)
Fax: 509.359.6405
Email: advising@ewu.edu