How Do University Credits Work? (What’s Uni Credit Actually)

Whenever we talk about the grading system we generally consider the scores we get. Though they are an important part of the grading system, one of the other important parts of the grading system is the university credits. In fact, many of you may not have even heard about it earlier and thus it may be a totally new term to you. However, you must not worry about it as here we will discuss university credits in detail so that you get a deep understanding of what credits are and how they work.

Quick Takeaway

  • When you are studying at the university you get credits for each of the modules you have completed.
  • These credits help to show that you have passed the modules and have a great understanding of the content completed for each of the courses. 
  • You will need to have 120 credits each year during the undergraduate degree and 180 credits each year during the master’s degree. 
  • The credits earned from three different types of subjects – general subjects, area of study, and free electives are 60, 30-40 and 30 respectively.
  • You will be generally studying 4 modules in one semester which will have 15 credits per module.

However, we will still recommend you read till the end so that you do not miss any of the crucial facts related to university credits.

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

What do you mean by university credits?

You have to earn credits at every university in order to pass each semester and receive your degree for the grading system. For an undergraduate and a master’s degree, 120 and 180 credits are typically needed to pass each year. You must have obtained 360 credits for a three-year undergraduate degree by the time you graduate in order to get the diploma. University credit acts as evidence that you have fulfilled all the module’s learning objectives and requirements and you fully understand everything that was taught.

How does the university credit work?

As discussed above you get university credits for each module you complete. You can not pass the university without having the required number of credits. When you will pass the exams or take participation in various activities you will be getting the credits. These credits will help to show you have passed all the exams and have a good understanding of the course content. Suppose we talk about a three-year degree you will need to have 360 credits in total. It means that you will have to earn 120 credits each year by performing different activities. If you were unable to get good grades in the semester, you can take the help of the professor to change the grades even after the semester.

What are the different types of credits in college?

Following are the three different areas in which get different university credits for-

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

General subjects

These are the subjects that you have to decide on on your own. However, the subjects that you have to choose from are mainly mentioned by the school itself. These subjects usually have 60 credits for a single subject. The subjects in this category are generally related to basic subjects like maths, history, english, etc.

Area of Study

These are the subject that is mandatory to take during the degree. These courses are related to the major subject you have chosen. The number of university credits that you will earn is between 30-40 credits per course.

Free Electives 

These are the subjects that you will be chosen based on your own choice. In this type of choice, you can choose to study subjects which are not related to your major subject. Suppose you have chosen economics as your major you can choose arts as a free elective. These courses are generally 30 credits each.

What are the different ways for earning credits at the university?

Following are the different ways by which you can earn credits in the university-

  • Typically, you will receive credit for each hour you spend in class.
  • The most common way of earning university credits is by passing the exams and tests taken in the classroom.
  • Participate in group discussions related to the topics covered in the classroom and if possible try to present papers on them.
  • The type of course selected has an impact on the number of credits awarded.
How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)
  • One credit may be equal to one hour of lecture and in others, it can be comparable to two or three hours every week.
  • You may also get university credits based on the notional hours spent upon completing the module. The notional hour is a name that represents the number of hours needed for completing the module. Usually, 1 credit is equal to 10 notional hours. 

However, if you are going to a community college you may need to follow some different ways for earning the credits.

How many university credits do you earn per module?

The number of credits that you will earn per module varies with the course you have taken. There are different numbers of credits from 15-120, that you can get for a particular module. Usually, you will have to take 4 different modules in a single semester which is 15 credits each. This means that you will be getting 60 credits each semester which makes 120 credits a year. 

How many credits do you need to graduate?

It again depends upon the type of degree you are doing. There are several types of degrees like a bachelor, master’s, associate, etc. If you are taking a bachelor’s degree, you will need to get 120 credits for it. On the other hand, if you have decided to choose a Master’s degree, you must have credits around 180 credits. Further, if you have decided to study for an associate degree, you will need to have at least 60 credits. 

You must also remember that in every type of degree, you will need to submit a research project in the form of a dissertation. These projects usually give you more credits than the normal modules and thus you must do your best in them. Also, you will have to make sure that there is no copied content for which you will have to use a plagiarism scanner like Safeassign.

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

What are the passing marks to get credits for the module?

Everyone has a fear of failing exams or modules. Generally, you need to have all 40% of your scores in your exams. If you have recorded 38 or 39% in the particular module, it means you failed to get credits for it and you will receive 0 credits for it. When you will pass only then you will be getting your 15 credits. So even getting 38 or 39% means that you are failing the exam or the module.

What if you submit your coursework late during the semester?

Coursework is a very important part of your grades. You will be getting the grades based on the amount of coursework you have done during the modules. Every university has its own rules and regulations for the marking scheme for the coursework you are submitting. Some may reduce 10% of the grades for each day after the deadline for the submission.

So suppose your coursework was 70% of your total grades and you are late by one day, now the total value of that coursework becomes 60%. It will have an impact on your final grade which may also result in losing the credits.

Can the number of credits be different for different courses?

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

The number of credits is definitely different for different courses. There are different types of courses that you take in universities. One such case is when you are choosing an elective course. In it, you get the choice of choosing the course for yourself and thus it usually has less number of credits. Also, it is based on the weight given to the particular course in the final grade. If the weight of the subject is higher then the credits associated with that course will also be higher.

What if you fail the module?

If you are failing the module even by 1% you will need to retake that module again. This means that you will have to redo the whole module again. However, you must remember that if you have already passed the module but are not satisfied with the marks, and want to improve it, you can not do that. The university in which you will be studying will help you in guiding the steps on what to do next. You may also need to pay a fee for resiting for the exams.

When you are resitting for the module, the grade that you can get is usually between 40-50% because 40 is the passing mark for the module. As we already know, you need to have 120 credits for getting into the next year, you may be doubtful about whether can you still go to the next year if you fail the module. Failing a module does not mean that you can not attend the next academic year.

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

Suppose you have received 105 credits in a single year, the university will allow you to take the module you fail in the next academic year. Though if you are only able to get 60-70 credits in the academic year, then you may have to repeat the whole year again. It is very rare that you will need to repeat the whole year as there are fewer chances of failing in so many modules. 

Will you get extra credits for doing a placement year or an exchange?

Let us study both one by one-

Placement year

The placement year is the one which you take to get exposure to real-life experience. When you take this year you need to spend a specific number of hours completing the work. However, there are no extra credits that you will be getting in this year. It means that there is no contribution in the 360 credits and you do not get any extra credits for it. However, it helps you to get the experience needed for a specific field.

Exchange Program

The exchange program is one in which you have the chance to study abroad with the leading partners of the institution. Depending upon the university and the course you have chosen, you may have to study a whole semester or the year in a university abroad. When you do an exchange program you may have to deal with a lot of different assignments and exams that you will need to pass but do not get any extra credits. However if in the exchange program, you have gained 60 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer Systems), it means that you will be getting 120 credits in your exams. 

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)

Can you transfer semester credit hours?

Transfer credits from other colleges are accepted by many schools. Just be aware that the number of courses you can use to finish your degree usually has a limit. For instance, a school might have requirements that you must achieve at least 60 to 70 credits in its own institution rather than any other school. Whereas, it might only accept 60 to 70 credits for transfer. you can transfer your credits depending on the institution you are getting into.

However, you must remember that usually, the schools restrict transferring the credits between 60-90 from a four-year school. Also, there may be schools which do not allow you to transfer your credits at all. Further, if you are not having at least 20-30 transfer grades, you may be considered a fresher student in some of the schools.

How Do University Credits Work? (What's Uni Credit Actually)


When you are studying at university, you receive credits for each module you are completing in the semester. For different types of courses, you will need to have a different number of credits. For example to pass a bachelor’s degree you need to have 120 credits each year. To earn these credits you have to pass various exams and modules. The passing marks in the university are 40%. Thus even if you have scored 39%, you will not get even a single credit for it and have to repeat the whole module. Generally, there are 4 modules in a semester of 15 credits each. In total it makes 60 credits for a semester. 

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