Registration and Course Information

Course Credits

A student may take between 6-10 credits in a single term, including any activity courses (e.g., music ensembles, music lessons, physical education activities, and varsity sports).

Grinnell expects degree-seeking students to take a load of 8 credits in four of the five available terms and to maintain a minimum term load of 6 credits, unless they are enrolled in a ninth semester. Students may petition the Registrar to carry a term credit load below 6 or above 10 credits. Please see the Request to Carry a Term Course Load Below 6 or Above 10 Credits and Instructions [Form is under development]. Students should consult with the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising to gain an understanding of the impacts of carrying less than the minimum course load in any given term. F-1 students should consult with the Office of International Student Affairs. 

Residency and Course Information

Students not invited to live on campus during a given term will take their courses for that term online. Distance learning in the fall will be very different from what it was this spring, given the time, resources, and resourcefulness that faculty members are devoting to teaching this fall. The 7.5-week terms and credit expectations will be the same regardless of where a student lives.

Students who are unable to come to campus for health reasons, because of travel restrictions, or other reasons, may take their courses online over the course of the year. Please consult Academic Advising to coordinate.

Course Registration

The Registrar’s office is re-registering continuing students for Fall 1 and 2 term courses, based on Fall 2020 semester class schedules. (Incoming First Year students will register Aug. 3-7.) The Fall 1 and 2 course offerings and class times were seeded and optimized to reduce credit overloads and time conflicts; however, we may not be able to re-register you for all of your Fall 2020 semester courses. Student class schedules will be finalized and released on Friday, July 31. Schedules are not final until Friday, July 31. Once the schedules are released, please review your classes for the fall terms and consult with your advisers. You will have the opportunity to adjust your Fall 1 and 2 term schedules online via Student Planning during a three-week Add/Drop period prior to the start of the Fall 1 term: Aug. 10-28. Once the Fall 1 term begins on Aug. 31, students may continue to Add/Drop courses via email request to the Registrar’s office ( until Sept. 8.    

Class Times

Refer to the Live Schedule of Courses for course times and locations. Each course will be designated with the term (F1, F2, S1, S2) and whether it will be offered on campus or remotely. We anticipate that some students on campus may still need to take online courses, depending on the overall distribution of online vs. in-person course options. 

The majority of Fall 1 and 2 classes will contain some mixture of online synchronous and asynchronous elements. Most classes have been slotted into 5-day-a-week, 110-minute timeslots. You will NOT meet this entire time. Faculty will select which days and times during the overall timeslot that your class will meet and notify you. Laboratory courses have been allotted a 5-day-a-week, 230-minute timeslot to allow for the scheduling of labs. Again, you will NOT meet this entire time. The instructor will divide these days/times between lecture/lab as necessary. Lectures and labs will meet in the same morning, afternoon, or evening timeslot.

Credit Load

Maximum Term Credit Load:

The maximum term credit load is 10-credits. This is a hard cap. Only students in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. Fall 2020 graduates) will be permitted to exceed the 10-credit term cap. Email with questions. In addition, music lessons/ensembles and physical education activities/sports that typically do not count toward the 18-credit semester maximum WILL count toward the 10-credit term maximum in Fall 1 and Fall 2.

Minimum Term Credit Load:

The minimum term credit load is 6-credits. Approval is required to carry a term credit-load below 6-credits. To request approval, submit the Request to Carry a Term Credit Load Below 6-Credits. There are critical considerations to carrying a term course load below 6-credits related to student accounts, financial aid, immigration, and other areas. Please read the instructions on the request form carefully, consult with the appropriate parties, and email with questions.   

S/D/F Grading Option

Grinnell has returned to the pre-pandemic S/D/F policy. The policy exceptions afforded during the Spring 2020 semester have NOT been extended to the Fall 1 and 2 terms. The deadline to elect S/D/F grading has, however, been extended to the Friday of the fourth week of class (Sept. 18 for Fall 1 and Nov. 20 for Fall 2.)

Music Lessons & Ensembles

Music lessons and most music ensembles have been split across the Fall 1 and Fall 2 terms. For instance, a 1-credit half-hour music lesson will meet once-a-week for .5-credits in Fall 1 and .5-credits in Fall 2. If you registered for Fall 2020 semester music lessons or ensembles, the Registrar’s Office will re-register you for these experiences using the split term format. If adding music lessons or an ensemble, please register for the Fall 1 and Fall 2 sections simultaneously. If desired, you may register for only one .5-credit section in a single term.     

Individual Studies

The deadline to submit an application for a fall individual study (i.e. MAP, independent study, Plus-2, etc.) is Friday, Aug. 21. Forms are available on the Registrar’s GrinnellShare site. Students may split 4-credit individual studies across the Fall 1 and Fall 2 terms (2-credits in each term) or complete the experience in a single term. If you have already submitted an application but did not indicate in which term you wish to be registered, email

Part-Time Status

Ordinarily, Grinnell does not permit part-time enrollment. Due to the unusual nature of enrollment circumstances for those who will study online during any given term this year, those who are on a timely track to degree completion may enroll part-time for one or more of the 2020–21 academic terms. Students enrolled part time at Grinnell may not simultaneously be enrolled at another institution; that is called dual enrollment and is not permitted. Part-time status will be reserved for students not invited to live on campus or approved to live off-campus in Grinnell. F-1 students must consult with the OISA regarding the potential for part-time enrollment.

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