How many subjects per semester?

Lots of students have been asking – “How many subjects do I take per semester?”.

There is no “correct” answer to this question, as everybody has a different journey at University, so we’ve explained some of the nuances of the number of subjects you study each semester below.

4 subjects – The standard full-time study load and the fastest way to finish your course

Traditionally a full-time study load has been four 15 credit point subjects per semester (or 120 points credit points per year). This is what most La Trobe students do. Completing four subjects over two semesters per year for the duration of your course, you will finish your course on time and be ready to get out into the workplace.

2 subjects The standard study load if you are enrolled in Terms

Some courses or subjects have Terms rather than standard semesters. Terms are shorter, more intensive study periods that run for 6 weeks. To ensure you can cope with the workload during a shorter study period, we recommend enrolling in no more than 2 subjects per Term.

International Students – read this

If you’re an International student, it is a Student Visa Requirement that you complete your course within your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) timeframe. This is usually a full-time course load (4 subjects per semester).

For more information about underloading as an international student please view the Underloading – international students FAQ

There are a number of reasons you may want to take less than 4 subjects per semester or 2 per Term.

Managing your study/life balance

Over the course of your studies at La Trobe you may encounter challenges that will mean you have to reduce your study load e.g. family bereavement, managing your health and wellbeing or academic progress issues. When studying four 15-credit-point subjects, you’re expected to spend 10 hours a week on each subject. Sometimes the demands of your course in a semester can be overwhelming, and depending on circumstances, you can adjust your subject load up or down during your degree.

If you need mental health or emotional support while studying Student Wellbeing provides free confidential counselling services.

If you need to discuss your academic progress you can speak to your course coordinator, a student advisor or subject coordinator.

Takes longer to complete your course

It’s worth noting that if you do reduce your subject load, this will extend the length of your course as you will have to take subjects at a later point in time to complete your degree.

Summer semesters and Winter semester provide an opportunity to catch up on subjects if you’ve opted for a reduced study load.

Census date and withdraw without fail

If you’re intending to reduce your subject load, be sure to do so in plenty of time. Remember that Census Date is the last day to withdraw from a subject without incurring fees for that subject. Also the Last Chance to Withdraw Without Fail is the last date that you can withdraw without receiving a fail grade for that subject on your transcript.

If you need to discuss your academic progress you can speak to your course coordinator, student advisor or subject coordinator.

3 subjects per standard semester – meeting Centrelink requirements and providing flexibility while managing your study/life balance

Three 15-credit-point subjects per standard semester is the minimum requirement to qualify for Centrelink support.

2 subjects standard part-time study load

Two 15-credit-point subjects per semester is a standard part-time load but does not meet the minimum requirement to qualify for Centrelink support.

Less than 2 subjects

For undergraduate students it is allowable to take less than two 15-credit-point subjects per semester in certain circumstances.

However, note that this isn’t sustainable over many semesters, as there are limits on the time-frame in which you can complete your course.

It’s a good idea to be aware of your maximum course completion time when considering reducing your study load or taking a Leave of Absence. 

If you reach your maximum course completion time you may be required to participate in the formal Academic Progress process

Still have questions about the number of subjects to take?

If you have still have questions in relation to your study load, we’re here to help. If you are a first year student you can get advice and support from your Student Advisor. You may also want to reach out to your course coordinator, course advisor or subject coordinator. They will help you find the answers you need specific to your circumstances.