University of Manitoba - U1 - First Year Planning Guide - Course planning basics
Course planning basics
As a new student here is some basic information about courses:
  • Courses are offered in two different terms during the Regular Session (September to April).
    • Fall Term, running from September to December
    • Winter Term, running from January to April
  • Each course has a credit hour value: usually either 3 or 6.
    • 3 credit hour courses run over one term.
    • 6 credit hour courses run over both terms and are called 'spanned courses'.
    • You can take a maximum of five courses per term, which would give you 30 credit hours completed in one Regular Session. This is considered to be a full course load.

You may take a range of courses from as few as 3 credit hours per term (1 course) to as many as 15 credit hours per term (5 courses).

Fall - September to December (3 credit hours) - Winter - January to April (3 credit hours) - Fall to Winter (6 credit hours)

  • 5 courses/term: 30 credit hours/year (100% course load)
  • 4 courses/term: 24 credit hours/year (80% course load)
  • 3 courses/term: 18 credit hours/year (60% course load) Minimum course load required to be considered a full-time student


Determining the number of courses you will take in your first year will be dependent upon many factors. Some considerations include:

What are the admission requirements or the first year courses for your target degree or program?

  • If you are in University 1 and wish to qualify for admission to your intended degree program in the shortest amount of time possible, you need to take at least an 80-100% course load (24-30 credit hours) in first year. Look under the "Admission Requirements from University 1" section for each program in this guide.

Do you need to meet course load requirements to receive funding?

  • If you have been awarded a scholarship, student loan or other type of funding it is important that you know the course load amount necessary to meet your funding requirements.
  • Funding agencies, such as Government Student Loans, Sponsorship Agencies, and University bursaries or scholarships will likely have minimum course load requirements that stipulate the number of courses you must take in a term or over the entire academic year (September to April).
  • Check out Financial Aid and Awards to find out more about the various funding options and the requirements before you plan the number of courses you will take in first year.

Do you need to upgrade your high school prerequisites along with your university courses?

  • Some university level courses may require the completion of Grade 12 level Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.
  • If you did not complete these requirements in high school, you may take these courses as part of your schedule at university or at an Adult Education Centre. See Upgrading Courses for complete details on how to upgrade your High School courses.
  • Please note that these upgrading courses are not considered for university credit, and will not count in your overall course load total.

Have you taken Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses?

  • If you completed AP or IB courses in high school, wrote the exams, and attained the minimum score, you may be eligible for transfer credit to reduce your first year course load. Learn more about course equivalency and minimum grades on the Admissions Office website.
  • Acceptance of AP or IB credit is not compulsory. If you decide that you want to transfer your credit, you must claim your credit by submitting a form to Enrolment Services. This form can be found on the Admissions Office website.
  • Contact an Academic Advisor in the First Year Centre if you are not sure whether or not you should transfer your AP or IB credit.

What other commitments do you have?

  • Balancing your university courses with your co-curricular involvement, volunteering, sports, employment, and family or social commitments will also be a factor in determining how many courses you should take.