Overload Approval

If you hope to receive special permission to register for an overload -- more than 15 credits in fall or winter -- your faculty adviser and an academic dean, or the Faculty EC, must approve your request. The application is available through Self-Service or at go.wlu.edu/Overload.

Given the challenging environment of the current academic year, students are encouraged to consider carefully whether the added work and stress that accompanies an overload is advisable. Students should also be aware that the deadline for dropping classes, even if overloaded, is Monday, January 25. Beyond that time adjustments to schedules require various reviews and approvals and those changes may not be approved.

A normal course load at Washington and Lee University is 12-15 credits for fall and winter terms and 3-5 credits for spring term. Permission is not ordinarily granted for an overload unless the student has both a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.000 and, during the last fall or winter term, a minimum grade-point average of 3.000. Moreover, requests will be less likely to be granted if the student applied for and received a late drop of a course in the previous term. Overload requests by First-Year students for winter term will only be considered after final fall term grades are received. Overload requests for all other students will be considered after the initial registration period is complete. Students should not make academic course plans that require multiple consecutive terms with overloads. Overloads are not approved for Spring term.


For all other students, overloads may be approved only in these circumstances:

  • One-time effort to retake a failed course after re-establishing a positive academic trajectory;
  • One-time effort to regain on-time graduation status due to changed plans;
  • Multiple four-credit courses within a normal four-course load, such as two or three four-credit lab-science or language courses in combination with one or two three-credit courses, along with additional corequisites;
  • One-credit ensemble, applied lesson, performance, studio, PE, or other experiential coursework that pushes students above 15 credits;
  • Independent research supervised by a professor;
  • Allow up to 3 credits per term above 15 for fields that require more than 120 credits to sit for a field-specific certification exam or to become a certified professional in that field (like the CPA exam).

Overload applications for 16 credits are reviewed by faculty advisers and an academic dean. Applications to overload with 17 or more credits during the fall and winter terms will be reviewed by the Faculty Executive Committee (see go.wlu.edu/FacultyEC). Approval of these exceptional appeals is not automatic. Please refer to the appropriate circumstances for an overload listed above. A denied application may be appealed to the Faculty Executive Committee by emailing FEC@wlu.edu. Appeals are approved only in the most exceptional of circumstances.

If approved, the University Registrar's office will be notified of the new maximum number of credits for which you may register. The permission for overload will not be effective until after everyone has had a chance to register for a normal course load and the initial class-year registration windows have closed. 

You will know when your overload permission is active, because you receive email notification and you can see it in the overload request website. You should sign up for your top course choices first and then return to course registration to add your additional coursework, once the overload approval has gone into effect.

Students are responsible to register only for the approved overload amount. For example, if you are approved for 16 credits, you must not register for 17 or more credits.

Sample error message: Registration in CBSC-112-01 puts you in overload for UGR-FALL TERM 2019. During Pick One in Fall/Winter: 4 credits maximum; and Spring Term: 5 credits maximum. After Pick One, Fall/Winter overload requests above 15 credits are made by applying at http://go.wlu.edu/Overload.