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Want to know your estimated GPA? Click here to use our online calculator.

How Many Credit Hours Should You Take?

Work HoursAcademic CreditsCourses
40<Up to 41-2
30-35Up to 62
20-306-92-3
10-209-123-4
<1012-184 or more

Note: Knowing individual strengths and weaknesses are helpful when choosing the number of courses to take. Students wanting to complete a degree in approximately 2 years should take 15 credits a semester. Contact an Academic Advisor for program planning.


Glossary of Common College Terms

  • Articulation Agreement - An agreement between two schools that allows course credit at one school to be accepted or transferred and applied toward a degree or certificate at another school.
  • Associate's Degree - AA Degree granted by colleges after students complete full-time program of required courses or its part-time equivalent (minimum of 60 credits). These degrees (AA, AS, ASE, AAT) prepare students to work and/or transfer to 4-year colleges to get Bachelor's Degrees. We also offer A.A.S. Degrees which prepare students to work immediately upon graduation.
  • Audit - Registration and participation in all functions of a class except tests and other graded assignments. No grades are issued and no credit is earned for audited courses. Students can only audit sections by completing paperwork at a CSM campus.
  • Bursar - The office in charge of money at a college. Students pay the Bursar for tuition and fees.
  • Course Format - The method in which a course is taught, including:
    • LEC: Lecture: Traditional classroom setting consisting of two 80 minute meetings per week or one approximately 3 hour meeting per week. Occasionally sessions will be offered 3 days a week.
    • OPEN LAB:  Math Courses: A computer-assisted course in which students use computers in a lab to complete their assignments. No previous typing experience necessary. An additional fee may apply.
    • LAB: (Usually Biological/Physical Science) “Hands-on” coursework in a laboratory classroom. An additional fee may apply.
    • WEB: Web-based course: The course is taken entirely online. Students may be required to take proctored exams or assessments on campus. An additional fee applies.
    • WEBHY: Web-hybrid course: The course is a combination of traditional classroom meeting and web-based instruction. An additional fee applies.
  • Credit Hour - One hour per week spent in class. (3 credit class=approx. 3 hrs. a week of class time)
  • Developmental courses - Courses that prepare students for college level work; required based on placement exams.
  • Division Chair - The highest administrator of an academic department.
  • Drop - Students may “drop” a course from their schedule through the first week of classes. A dropped course will not show on a student’s transcript. A refund is determined by the drop date in the schedule of classes.
  • Elective Courses - Courses that a student may choose to complete as part of his/her learning program which count towards graduation requirements.
  • Full Time - A class schedule of 12 or more credits during the fall or spring semester; part time is less than 12.
  • General Education Requirements (GenEd) - Every major requires students take some credits which are a broad-based sample of Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts, Cultural and Global Awareness, Math and English which provides students with a well-rounded education.
  • Guided pathways - CSM's approach to student success where students are guided through their educational experience with academic and career choices, as well as program maps which tell them what courses to take in what sequence (these are the courses listed in order in the college catalog) .
  • Minisession - 7 week session that occurs within the fall or spring semester.
  • my.CSMD - Online portal providing students with access to Online Services, myLearning, library resources, etc.
  • myLearning - Online learning platform where you can find materials/information about courses - syllabus, grades, assignments, due dates, etc.
  • Office hours
  • Online Services - Online system providing students with a convenient method to register for classes, access account information including bills, financial assistance, schedule of classes, and other student services
  • Outlook - CSM's new e-mail system; All students have access to e-mail now through O365. The IT Help Desk can help with questions.
  • Prerequisite - A course that must be completed before you can take another course (ex. ENG 1010 must be completed before ENG 1020 can be taken). These appear with an asterisk (*) in the catalog.
  • Preview week - The week before classes start, students may view course information online in MyLearning to be prepared.
  • Program - Set of required courses for a degree in a major area of study.
  • Registrar - Person (or office) in a college who manages academic records.
  • Required Course - Courses that are needed to complete a student’s Program of Study
  • Section - A 6 digit number (following the course number) that designates the time, day, and place that a particular class is offered.
  • Semester - A 15-week session during fall and spring.
  • Student Finance - In myServices, where students view and pay their bill.
  • Student Planning - A software program where students plan the sequence of their courses semester by semester and where they register. If they register for a course off their plan, Financial Aid WILL NOT PAY for those courses.
  • Syllabus - An outline of course objectives, schedule of class activities, assignments, grading policy and contact information provided by the course instructor.
  • Transcript - An official record of your academic courses. It lists your completed courses, grades, and GPA.
  • Withdraw - Students can withdraw from classes for any reason before the final semester withdraw date (check the schedule of classes) and receive a grade of “WD” on their transcript. A withdrawal will have no impact on your GPA and you will not receive any money back for the course.