When deciding how many units to take, it is very important to plan time for reading, studying, and preparing for those classes. No time is given "in class" for study. You are expected to be ready for each class before the class period begins.

The recommended formula to determine expected amount of TOTAL TIME required for success in a class is as follows:

Schedule 2-3 hours per unit, per week for studying.


3 unit class

  • In-class time = 3 hours per week
  • Study time = 6 hours per week

(3 units x 2 hrs/unit study = 6 hours)



If you take 12 units, total time to budget is 36 hours per week. That is why 12 units is considered full-time-student status.

You may take as little as .5 units or as many as 19 units during a single semester. To take more than 19 units (not including work experience or independent study) you are required to obtain special permission from the Counseling Department. You must have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average to gain permission to enroll in more than 19 units.

College Units

  • A college "unit" is a term used to define the time value of a course, or a "unit" of time involved in class instruction.
  • A one-unit class typically requires one hour of instruction per week for a 16-18-week semester. Lab units are calculated differently.
  • A three-unit class requires three hours of instruction per week for a 16-18-week semester.

Managing Work and School

Do not overload yourself when you register for classes. Design a course load that is reasonable for your level of energy and motivation.

Recommended combination:

Work School
5-15 hours per week 12-15 units
20 hours per week 9-12 units
30 hours per week 6-9 units
40 hours per week 3-6 units