Credit Units and Unit Load Limitations

Credit Units 

A unit is the standard measurement of college and university work. One unit equals one hour of classroom work in most classes, predominantly those in lecture or lecture-discussion formats. 

Students should expect to spend two hours of outside preparation for each one hour spent in class. Laboratory classes have three hours of work per week per unit. (Specialized performance classes such as athletics, drama and music require more than three hours per week per unit.)

Quarter units are equal to two-thirds of a semester unit. Conversely, a semester unit is equal to one and a half quarter units.

Unit Load Limitations

Twelve units is the minimum number of units required for classification as a full-time student. A normal class load will be 12-17 units.

New students may not exceed a maximum of 21.5 units during their first quarter of enrollment at De Anza without the approval of the dean of Counseling.

Continuing students may enroll in more than 21.5 units (including physical education and labs) if they have met the following conditions:

  • Completed a minimum of 18 units in the preceding quarter at De Anza
  • Have not withdrawn from more than one class in the preceding quarter, and 
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

Students meeting the above criteria who wish to enroll in more than 21.5 units must petition through their counselor, by meeting with their counselor to complete the Exceeding Units e-form. (The form can be found at

Petitions will not be considered before the first day of classes. 

Summer Sessions

During summer sessions, students may enroll in a maximum of 15 units including physical education classes and labs associated with courses.

  • To exceed the 15-unit limit, students must meet with a counselor to complete the special petition form.
  • Students must have completed a minimum of 18 units in the preceding quarter, not withdraw from more than one class, and have at least a 3.0 GPA to be eligible for a unit overload
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