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.

First-year students may not take more than 5.5 CUs during the first semester, and students must be approved for more than 5.5 CUs in subsequent semesters.  Requests for course load increases will not be considered until a week after student’s course schedule for the relevant semester has been released. Requests for 6 CUs go through your assigned academic advisor and requests for 6.5 CUs go through the Petitions Committee.

Requests for course load increases require an academic plan and an academic justification. The academic plan should include the requirements you will be completing and your anticipated course load for each of your remaining semesters at Penn.

When reviewing the request, advisors will consider the following:

  • Demonstrated rationale that the CU increase is necessary to complete your Wharton undergraduate degree requirements
  • Whether the increase is required in order for you to graduate on time
  • Consistent academic progress, history of quality grades, and successful completion of a full course load (5.5 CUs) in a previous semester

Also note that the following do not constitute an academic justification:

  • Desire to “shop” for courses
  • Intention to apply to a dual-degree program
  • Pursuing a second concentration or minor
  • A course that is only offered in a particular semester
  • A change in course format, i.e., virtual or asynchronous
  • Intention to sub-matriculate (adding a graduate program will likely add additional semesters)