Northern Michigan University is on the semester system; the academic year consists of a fall and winter semester followed by summer college.

Course Levels

000-099 Remedial, developmental or vocational*
100-299 Generally for freshmen and sophomores; some require prerequisites
300-499 Generally for juniors and seniors; some 400 level courses are approved for graduate credit

*Remedial or developmental courses do not meet requirements for associate or bachelor’s degrees, but may meet requirements for vocational diplomas and certificates. Remedial, developmental or vocational courses are not calculated in the NMU grade point average and are not counted as earned credit hours toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Classification of Students
NMU students are classified according to the number of credit hours earned numbered 100 level or above.

Freshmen Students who have earned fewer than 28 credits.
Sophomores Students who have earned 28-55 credits.
Juniors Students who have earned 56-87 credits.
Seniors Students who have earned 88 credits or more.

Credit hour
Students are awarded credit for classes on the basis of the Carnegie unit.

“Traditional” lecture, discussion, or seminar style academic courses will meet for the equivalent of one academic hour (50 minutes of instruction) for every credit hour assigned, for the entire length of a 15-16 week fall/winter semester. There is an additional expectation that students work independently for an average of two hours per week outside of class for every credit hour assigned. Laboratory courses require a minimum of two academic hours per week in the classroom for every credit assigned. There is an additional expectation that students work independently for an average of one hour per week outside of class for every credit hour assigned. 

Hybrid and on-line courses will be delivered in a way that provides an equivalent level of instruction and academic work and meets the same course learning outcomes.

Internships require a minimum of 37.5 documented hours of hands-on work/experience, in addition to any supplemental tracking, recording, and/or information processing requirements. Departmental requirements may be higher.

Other academic activities must meet at least an equivalent amount of work, as required above, to award academic credit.

Academic Load
A normal academic load for undergraduate students is 16 credits during the fall or winter semester and 12 credits during a summer session. The minimum number of credit hours required for a baccalaureate degree is 120. Some majors require students to take an academic load in excess of 16 credits, but never more than 20 per semester. In general, students are advised not to enroll in more than 20 credits in the fall and winter semesters or more than 16 credits in the summer. They may be permitted to do so only if they have established an NMU cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher.

First semester freshmen, however, are not allowed to take more than the maximum credits in a semester (16 or 20).

Note: A written petition to carry more than the maximum credits in a semester should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the student’s adviser.

Full-time Status
To be considered full time, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours in each semester of attendance.