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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Overload Approval

If you hope to receive special permission to register for an overload -- more than 14 credits in fall or winter -- your faculty adviser and an academic dean must approve your request. The application is available through WebAdvisor or at

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. Students should not make academic course plans that require multiple consecutive terms with overloads. A normal course load at Washington and Lee University is 12-14 credits for fall and winter terms and 4-5 credits for spring term. Overloads are not approved for Spring term.

First-Year students may register for up to 14 credits in their first term (fall term). In exceptional cases, permission for 15 credits - arrived at only because of a single one-credit performing arts class or one-credit corequisite - may be secured through the Dean for First-Year Experience. For first-term, first-year students, no permission is given for more than 15 credits. For winter term: First-year students must wait for final grades from their first term in order to request a winter-term overload.

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

  • Regular term overload for summer internship credit (most work completed prior to term);
  • 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, or studio coursework that pushes students above 14 credits;
  • Independent research supervised by a professor.

Overload applications are reviewed by faculty advisers and an academic dean. Applications to overload with 18 or more credits during the fall and winter terms will be reviewed by the Faculty Executive Committee (see Approval of these exceptional appeals is not automatic. Please refer to the appropriate circumstances for an overload listed above.

If approved, the University Registrar's office will be notified of the new maximum number of credits for which you may register. The overload permission will go into effect immediately if you are a senior (or for fall, rising senior). For all other students, 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. The exception to this is fall registration, since upper-class students are allowed to register for an overload prior to First-Year registration during orientation.

You will know when your overload permission is active, because it displays in your WebAdvisor "Holds and Registration Approvals" screen (see example below). This notation does not display until the permission is active in registration. Thus, 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 15 credits, you must not register for 16 or more credits.

Sample error message: Registration in PSYC-112-01 puts you in overload for UGR-WINTER TERM 2015. Overload approval is requested from WebAdvisor ‘Request for Overload'