REG 02.05.02 – Length of Time to Graduation

Authority: Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

History: First Issued: 1993.

Additional References:Registration and Records website

Contact Info: Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA) (919-515-2446)


1. The normal and expected length of time to graduation is four years (eight semesters) which requires a student to average of 16 credit hours per semester (for most curricula), or to attend one or more summer sessions.

2. By action of the N.C. General Assembly, effective with the 1994 fall semester, new students entering any of the sixteen campuses of The University of North Carolina system (including NCSU), will be assessed a 25% tuition surcharge once they have attempted more than 140 degree credit hours. (Degree programs at NCSU typically require 128 hours or less for graduation.) Courses taken in summer school at any UNC-System campus do not count toward the 140 hour limitation. Questions about this new policy should be directed to the Department of Registration and Records, 919-515-2572.

3. In order to make continuous progress toward graduation, students should be encouraged to take full advantage of the University’s advising and support services. Effective career decision-making and early, deliberate, long-range semester-by-semester planning of courses and careful selection of extra-curricular commitments can provide direction and motivation necessary for effective use of time to graduation. Additional factors that may assure a student’s continuous progress toward graduation include (1) good academic performance in freshman and basic prerequisite courses, (2) advanced placement credit for introductory courses, and (3) enrollment in summer sessions.

4. Students should be discouraged from taking unrealistically large loads which may result in poor academic performance.

5. Students may take more than eight semesters to complete an undergraduate program at NCSU. In some cases this is the result of effective decision-making on the part of the student for such things as:

5.1. participation in cooperative education or study abroad programs,

5.2. a decision to be a part-time student with a reduced course load for reasons of health, necessary outside employment, or parental responsibilities, or

5.3. attempting dual degrees, double majors, or minors.

6. In other cases the length of time to graduation may be prolonged beyond the eighth semester as a result of:

6.1. incomplete or inadequate secondary school background requiring some additional compensatory, developmental, or prerequisite courses,

6.2. poor academic performance in the freshman year or early semesters, or

6.3. late changes of curriculum