Courses, Grading, + Credit Hours

Courses, grading, + credit hours

Academic disciplines

The College comprises a wide range of academic disciplines in the arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, media, design, and international studies. Prospective students can find information on the many courses offered in the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Bulletin.

Students are expected to take all of their courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. An exception may be made for one course upon request.


Courses at IU are named according to the department (such as HIST for History, or CJUS for Criminal Justice) and numbered according to their intended level. Generally, 100 level courses are intended for first year students, 200 are second year, etc. Some upper level courses are limited due to space and equipment or require that the student has taken a specific lower-level (prerequisite) course. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that all upper-level courses will be available to students. Academic advisors suggest students enroll in an average of 15 credit hours per semester, so that you have the flexibility to drop a course if you have any difficulty. Check with your home university about enrollment requirements and expectations.

Credit hours

Students will enroll at least 12 credit hours and no more than 18 credit hours. A minimum of 12 is required to maintain visa status. Visiting students should plan to enroll in a minimum of 14 credit hours in the core divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences.

American universities measure credit hours by the number of hours spent in class each week. Many courses are three credits, which means they will meet about three hours per week, with additional hours of work required of the student outside of class (reading, writing, homework assignments, etc.). One IU credit is roughly equivalent to two European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. At the end of your term, the College will send a transcript to your home university. Please note that IU cannot determine how courses will be applied to your degree at your home university. You need to be in contact with your home institution to ensure how the courses you take at IU will transfer.