Classification of Students Policy

Custodian: Registrar

Effective Date: Current

Last Review: Spring 2022

Next Review: Spring 2029


Students at Minnesota State University Moorhead are divided into classes as follows:

Freshman 0-29 credits
Sophomore 30-59 credits
Junior 60-89 credits
Senior 90 or more credits

Special students are admitted on an individual basis and classified separately since they are not participating in degree programs.


Credit - MSUM’s standard is that one semester credit hour for undergraduates is meant to represent three hours of academic work per week for the average student who has the expected preparation for the courses that they are enrolled in. MSUM also affirms that all grades for academic work are based on the quality of the work submitted to the instructor, not on the amount of time expended on the submitted work.

In particular, this would mean that for a 3-credit course that meets for three 50-minutes periods each week, the student should expect to spend six and a half hours outside of class reading the material, doing homework, writing or researching papers, studying for exams, participating in class-specific chat rooms, etc. per week, averaged over the semester, on that class. It also means that some students will spend more or less time outside of class than others, depending on their own preparation and ability levels and their ability to use their time efficiently. A course load of 15 credit hours per semester would bear an expectation of 45 hours spent per week on academic work averaged over the semester.

If a 3-credit course meets for less than three 50-minute periods per week, it is expected that the students will be doing a larger proportion of their academic work for that class outside of the traditional classroom. If a 3-credit course meets for more than three 50-minute periods per week, it is expected that the students will be doing a larger proportion of their academic work within the classroom than they may otherwise do, which is often appropriate for laboratory or workshop classes.

MSUM also understands that the nature of specific courses and class activities may require more than three hours of work per week for each credit hour. Examples of such courses may include, but are not limited to, clinical experiences or internships, some laboratory courses, or some studio courses. Courses of this nature should make this expectation clear to the students enrolled in the course. For example, a 1-credit lab course is normally assigned two to three hours in the lab each week.