Credit Hour and Course Load Policy

Semester Length

California Health Sciences University operates on a semester system. The College of Pharmacy and the College of Biosciences and Health Professions (CBHP) consists of two didactic course semesters for a minimum of 15 weeks and 1 week for examinations. COP does not offer classes during the summer semester. The experiential education requirements for IPPEs and APPEs are completed throughout the calendar year. The College of Osteopathic Medicine defines a semester as 20 weeks in length. Clinical Clerkships are completed throughout the calendar year as assigned.

During each semester, one (1) unit of credit is assigned per hour each week of classroom or direct faculty didactic instruction (that is, per hour of instruction or student in-class time) along with a minimum of two (2) hours of out-of-class student work (pre-class work). For courses that include additional workshop and/or laboratory sessions, one (1) unit of credit is assigned per three (3) hours each week of student time spent in these activities.

Semester is defined as not less than 15 weeks of instruction. Courses offered in shorter timeframes must have an equivalent number of hours dedicated to instruction and student work as that spent in an equivalent semester-based class.

Credit Hour Review Procedure

The assignment of credit hours to courses is reviewed and approved by the appropriate Curriculum Committee annually as the syllabi and schedule of courses are created and finalized.

Course Load

Each semester, students are expected to carry the normal full-time course load. In special circumstances, pursuant to each college’s policies and procedures, such as prior course failures or readmission, temporary part-time status may occur due to lack of availability of courses; however, continuous part- time study is not an option. A first, second, or third professional- year student carrying less than 12 semester hours is considered a part-time student; a fourth- professional-year student carrying less than 10 semester hours is considered a part-time student.

CHSU uses the following standard to determine a student’s status:


12 or more units

Three-quarter time

9-11 units


6-8 units

Less than half-time

5 or less

Schedule Changes (Add/Drop) or Withdrawal from a Course

Due to block scheduling, schedule changes are generally not possible. The only exceptions for schedule changes are reasons that are of an academic nature, or for elective courses. Requests to change an elective must be done by the end of the add/drop period, which is at the end of the first week of each semester. Students should be aware that dropping (withdrawing) from a course may result in a significant extension of the students’ professional program. Before dropping (withdrawing), students should discuss the issue with their faculty advisor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

Elective Courses

The decision of whether to offer an elective course will be based upon the availability of faculty to teach the course, as determined by the department chairs, and by a minimum number of students (set by the faculty presenting the course) enrolling in the course and being present on the first day of class.