Getting a degree at an online college works in much the same way as getting one from a traditional college. So, students can expect the same limits on how many course hours they can take each semester just as they would receive when taking classes at a brick-and-mortar school. There are some good reasons for this and it’s not just to keep students enrolled at a college for longer. While taking more courses a semester might be a way to more quickly finish a degree, students won’t be able to give each course the amount of time and effort it deserves and will as a consequence get much less out of their educational experience. Limits help to make sure that students are able to manage their course load and maximize what they’re learning each and every semester, whether online or off.
For graduate students, ranges are pretty much the same though many may find themselves taking far fewer courses than their undergraduate counterparts because courses require more reading, writing and research to complete and therefore may count for more credit hours.
How many courses you take each semester will depend on your own goals and how quickly you want to complete college, but keep in mind that your online school will limit the total amount of hours you are allowed to take each semester helping you to better maintain a balance between school and everything else in your life.
Take note that some online schools and programs do allow students to enroll past the established maximum hours, but you must given special permission to do so. This typically requires contacting the school’s dean or program head and filling out a request form specifying how many hours you wish to take. The student is also required to explain on the request form why he or she desires to take so many hours on how he or she plans on juggling all the additional coursework that the added classes will entail. Those who have a 2.5 GPA or lower usually don’t qualify to make such a request.