Students nominally earn course credits at the rate of one credit for each hour of time spent in class per week over the period of one semester. The actual formula, however, is based upon minutes spent in class (e.g., a minimum of 15 meetings x 50 minutes = 750 minutes = 1 credit hour). Thus, to earn 3 credits for completing a 3-hour course, students must pass the course, and the class itself must meet 2,250 minutes or 37.5 hours. Online courses must require the equivalent amount of academic work and meet the same learning outcomes as a face-to-face course earning the same number of credits.
Liberal Arts Credit
A course carrying liberal arts credit is a course of college-level work designed to contribute to students’ intellectual and cultural and/or artistic growth. In such a course, the study is devoted to historical, cultural, analytical, evaluative, theoretical or conceptual treatments of the subject matter.
Non-liberal Arts Credit
A course carrying non-liberal arts credits is a course of college-level work designed primarily to help students develop appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for the pursuit of specific professions or vocations. In such a course the majority of the study focuses on methods, techniques, technical skills, practical applications, or specialized knowledge with a narrow range of applicability outside of the given field. Non-liberal arts courses are indicated with an @ sign in the course title.
Part-time load = 0-11 credit hours
Full-time load = 12-19 credit hours (including P.E. experiences)
Overload = above 19 semester hours (including P.E. experiences)
Applying for an Overload
- Students must be a Sophomore or higher, have a 3.0 GPA, and complete an overload form available in the office of each school dean, including the signature of adviser and appropriate dean or designee.
- Students must state their reasons for needing the overload on this form. Dean’s reasons for granting or denying students’ request will also be recorded on this form.
Summer Session and Winter Session Course Load
- The maximum course load for any Summer Session lasting four weeks or more is seven credit hours.
- The maximum course load for any session shorter than four weeks is four credit hours.
- For overlapping sessions, the maximum course load is seven credit hours.
- In exceptional circumstances, overload hours may be approved with written permission from the dean (or designee) and the faculty members of the applicable courses being registered for.
Prerequisites for Courses
Students and their advisers need to carefully check course descriptions in the Undergraduate Catalog to ensure that students possess the competence to undertake specific coursework. Frequently, a lower-division or introductory-level course may be a requirement for upper-division or advanced courses. Occasionally, however, the description may simply require a consultation with the instructor and their permission.
Courses are numbered to provide a measure of their difficulty. For instance, it would normally be unwise for Freshmen, without previous experience in a discipline, to register for a 400-level course. These course levels are listed as follows:
||Undergraduate lower division
||Undergraduate upper division
||Graduate (Advanced undergraduates may take them, with instructor permission, for undergraduate credit.)
||Graduate (Limited to graduate students and Seniors with instructor permission.)
Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Students
Courses at the 500-level are designated as graduate courses, but may, with the instructor’s permission, be taken by upper-division undergraduates (students who have earned 57 or more semester hours of credit) on a space-available basis for undergraduate credit. Courses at the 600-level are limited to students seeking graduate credit only.
Seniors wishing to enroll in courses for graduate credit must complete an application with the Center for Graduate Studies, Raymond Hall 204. Seniors may enroll in graduate coursework for graduate credit under the following conditions and on a space-available basis. They must:
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, at least 75 hours earned in numerical grading;
- Be within nine hours of completing their undergraduate program;
- Register for no more than six hours of graduate credit;
- Register for no more than 15 credit hours of combined undergraduate and graduate courses; and
- Be approved by the department offering the course(s).
Certain academic courses may be audited on a space-available basis with instructor’s permission. Faculty, staff, members of their immediate family, registered students, and alumnae of SUNY Potsdam may audit without paying an auditing fee. All others may be assessed an auditing fee per course. Courses in which studio, laboratory, performance, observation, travel, or other active participation is involved may only be audited at the discretion of the instructor and chair of the department. There is a cost of $50 per course, unless you are directly associated with SUNY Potsdam. Fee is subject to change and additional fees (lab, technology, athletic, travel, etc.) may apply.
High school students may audit courses. To do so, they must complete the course audit form, be a Junior or Senior, and have written permission from their principal or guidance counselor.
Anyone auditing a course shall not be enrolled in that course and shall not be listed on its roster. Auditors do not earn academic credit or any formal recognition. Auditors are not required to meet the requirements of the course and the instructor is not obligated to evaluate their work in any way. Persons who want to audit a course should obtain a “Request to Audit Form” from the division of Graduate and Continuing Education or online at https://www.potsdam.edu/course-auditing.
The form requires the written approval of the course instructor and the chair of the department offering the course. Completed forms must be submitted to the division of Graduate and Continuing Education. A course audit may be revoked if space is limited, and if a formally registered student wishes to enroll in the course by the official posted late-add deadline. Auditors only attend at the discretion of the course instructor and are subject to all appropriate guidelines under the student Code of Conduct.
Credit hours earned in classes which are primarily remedial or college preparatory in nature may not be counted among credit hours earned or toward degree requirements.