Term Structure

Term Structure

All students are required to register for their courses within a term structure. The term is a 16-week period that begins on the first Sunday of the month, twelve months a year, in which a student can register for one or multiple courses, as long as the course(s) start and end within the term start and end date. Each term consists of two consecutive 8 week course periods. An academic year is two terms, or 32 weeks. This designation is important for students who receive financial aid as their aid will be packaged for the whole academic year but they will receive disbursements for one term at a time.   

A student’s first term start date is determined by his/her first course start date as an enrolled student. Additionally, the student’s term beginning and ending dates are predetermined for the life of the student. Since JIU does not have any scheduled breaks, the terms continue back-to-back until the student graduates. For more information about term structure, see section four of the Student Handbook.

 Registration Status

Registration status for undergraduate (associate and bachelor), master and doctoral students are shown in the chart that follows. Note that graduate students are subject to slightly different standards than undergraduate students. Given that Federal Student Aid loan eligibility is based on a student’s registration status, it is important that FSA students register for at least half-time status each term in order to be eligible to receive loans. Students not receiving Federal Student Aid are not required to maintain half-time status; however, all students are encouraged to register for at least a half-time course load.

The following table illustrates the credit hours required per term for each classification.

  Credits Per Term Credits Per Academic Year
Enrollment Status Undergraduate Master Doctoral Undergraduate Master Doctoral
Full-Time

12

6

8

24

12

16

3/4 Time

9

 N/A

N/A 

18

N/A

N/A

1/2 Time

6

3

4

12

6

8

Less than 1/2 Time

3

 N/A

1

6

3

1

Course Load Limits

The table above identifies the normal course load for most students. Students wishing to accelerate their studies may do so within the following limits:

  • Undergraduates may not take more than 18 credits in a term. 
  • Masters students may not take more than 12 credits in a term.
  • Due to the cohort model, doctoral students are limited to the Full-Time definition.
  • Students on SAP1, SAP2 or SAP3 may not exceed the Full-Time definition for their program.

Students wishing to exceed the Full-Time amount for their program must receive prior approval from the Academic Chair of their program.  Students should work with their Student Solutions Advisor (SSA) who will request the policy exception from the Academic Chair. 

Once you have been enrolled into a JIU degree program, the start and end dates of your academic year are determined by when you begin taking courses and begin receiving FSA. For more information about term structure, please consult JIU's Student Handbook.