Course Load

Wharton offers only a full-time program of study. The minimum course load is 4 course units (CUs) per term for the bachelor of science degree. Registration for a reduced course load of fewer than 4 CUs per term may have implications for financial aid and academic progression, among other areas.

The maximum standard course load is 5.5 CUs, and students are expected to complete at least 8 CUs across each academic year for appropriate academic progression. Students must be approved for more than 5.5 CUs of enrollment. First-year students may not take more than 5.5 CUs during the first semester. Requests for course load increases will not be considered until after the student’s course schedule for the relevant semester has been released. Requests for CU increases must be submitted using the Max CU Increase Path form.

Requests for course load increases require an academic justification and an academic plan that includes the following:

  • A list of courses to be taken and the requirements they fulfill for the overload semester. 
  • A list of requirements to be taken and the number of CUs planned for each of the student’s remaining semesters.

To ensure their academic plan is accurate and complete, students are encouraged to review information on the curriculum and meet with their assigned advisor if needed.

When reviewing the request, the Wharton Undergraduate Petitions Committee will consider the following:

  • Demonstrated rationale that the CU increase is necessary to complete your Wharton undergraduate degree requirements
  • Whether the increase is required for you to graduate in the expected 8 semesters
  • History of academic progress, record of grades at Penn, and levels of CU enrollment in all prior terms at Penn¹

Note that the following do not constitute an academic justification:

  • Desire to “shop” for courses and later drop a less preferred class
  • Intention to apply for a dual degree (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Pursuing a second concentration or minor
  • A course that is only offered in a particular semester
  • A variation in course modality or timing, including quarter-based courses or those taking place primarily over a break period
  • Desire to graduate in fewer than 8 semesters

Please note that students enrolled in dual degrees with a home school of Wharton will be allowed more flexibility with CU increases than single-degree students because of the demands of their programs; however, they must still submit a full academic plan and explanation/justification for the increase.

¹ The Petitions Committee will not normally approve enrollment more than 1 CU above the total from the semester immediately prior to the requested overload semester.