Overloads/Part-Time Status

Petition Processes for Registration Overloads & Part-Time Status  

Course Overloads

For students that matriculated to Rice prior to the Fall 2016 term: 

Students must secure permission in writing from the Office of the Academic Advising to register for more than 20 credits in any semester.

Guidelines and the petition form can be downloaded here.


  • No student may receive credit for more than 20 semester credit hours in a semester, including courses taken elsewhere, without prior written approval.
  • Petitions for more than 24 credit hours will not be considered.
  • Petitioning for a registration overload should be a last resort and only for students with truly extenuating circumstances that would necessitate a course overload.

For students that matriculated to Rice in the Fall 2016 term and thereafter:

Students must secure permission from either the Office of Academic Advising or their appropriate major advisor(s) for more than 18 credits in any semester.

President Leebron and Provost Miranda appointed a committee of students, faculty, and staff to study and provide recommendations on guidelines and processes for governing student requests to enroll for more than 18 hours. The committee—the Approval Threshold Committee—met throughout the fall and early spring, and solicited student input via email and college government meetings, and at several meetings of the Student Association.  The committee submitted a report and recommendations to President Leebron and Provost Miranda earlier this semester.  They have accepted the committee’s recommendations and approved implementation of those recommendations as a pilot effort, effective July 1, 2017. A detailed summary of the committee’s recommendations is attached here.

The most notable aspects of implementation are explained below.  Please take care to review the new guidelines and, in particular, the new process and timeline for petition approval.

For the fall 2017 semester, the new guidelines and process will govern requests (petitions) to enroll in 19-21 credit hours by all students who matriculated as freshmen in fall 2016 and forward, except for Architecture and Music students, who are exempted from the new rule.  Since this is a pilot effort, the process will be reviewed and revised as needed as we move forward.

The Office of Academic Advising (OAA) will begin accepting petitions for review on July 15, 2017. Major advisors will begin accepting petitions for review on August 15, 2017.  In some cases, petitions submitted to OAA may be referred to the major advisor(s).

Students who wish to submit a petition must follow this process:

  1. Complete the petition form including a clearly articulated, written rationale for enrolling in more than 18 hours, along with an academic plan.
  2. Submit (electronically) to an academic advisor a completed petition and a calendar showing a typical week’s academic and non-academic commitments.
    1. Students who have not declared a major and remain undecided should submit petitions and supporting documents to the Office of Academic Advising (OAA) by emailing aadv@rice.edu.
    2. Students who are certain of the choice of major or have declared a major should submit petitions and supporting documents to their major advisor. A list of major advisors and their contact information can be found on the OAA webpage, oaa.rice.edu.
  3. Meet or have a phone conversation with the appropriate advisor to discuss the petition no later than Friday, August 25, 2017 (Friday of the first week of classes).
  4. If a petition is approved by the advisor, the advisor immediately notifies the Office of the Registrar (OTR) by formal email.
  5. OTR adjusts ESTHER access to allow for overload registration.
  6. Student manages registration and updates course registration as approved.
  7. If a petition is rejected by the advisor, a student may appeal. Appeals must be submitted by Wednesday, August 30 and resolved by Friday, September 1, 2017. 

In the weeks ahead, a number of actions will be taken to facilitate successful implementation of this process:

  • The petition and instructions for completing and submitting a petition will be posted and available for download at oaa.rice.edu (May 15).
  • Major advisor contact lists for 2017-18 will be posted at oaa.rice.edu (June 15).
  • Major advisors and OAA staff advisors will receive instruction on the new process and guidelines.
  • The Offices of the Provost and Dean of Undergraduates will work with OAA and department chairs to ensure adequate advisor availability for students in the time frames indicated.

Please remember that you may enroll in up to 18 hours without special permission. Though permission is required to enroll in more than 18 hours, the approval threshold advising meeting is intended to be an opportunity for an open discussion in which you can share academic and personal goals, and your advisor can determine whether enrollment in more than 18 hours is beneficial and appropriate given your academic record, course of study, and outside commitments.

If you have questions about the guidelines and process, please direct them to Associate Vice-Provost Matt Taylor (ptt@rice.edu) or Director of Academic Advising Aliya Bhimani (aliyab@rice.edu).

Part-Time Status Requests

Students must secure permission in writing from the Dean of Undergraduates before registering for courses if they want to enroll for fewer than 12 credits.

To request permission, write the Dean (ugdean@rice.edu) and include the list of courses you wish to take, the total credit hours this represents, and the specific reasons for making the request. Consult with your major advisor(s) or the Office of Academic Advising prior to submitting your petition to address potential effects on your academic plan.

Students also should be aware that the Office of the Registrar must report a student’s part-time status to various entities, such as loan agencies, scholarship foundations, insurance companies, etc. It is in the student’s best interest to determine if they will be affected in any way by part-time status.

If you fall into any of the following categories, special considerations may apply if you wish to enroll in less than twelve hours. Consult the appropriate office about your eligibility and potential ramifications.

  • Scholarship Athletes – NCAA rules; consult Academic Advising for Athletics
  • International Students on non-immigrant visas (F) – maintaining status; consult the Office of International Students and Scholars
  • Financial Aid – Financial aid regulations; consult the Office of Financial Aid
  • Music Students – Consult Gary Smith (gasmith@rice.edu), Associate Dean of the Shepherd School of Music

Important Documents

Approval Threshold Committee Report & Recommendations – February 2017

Petition form for Registering for over 20 hours (Only for students who matriculated to Rice prior to the Fall 2016 year)

Petition form for Registering for over 18 hours (Only for students who matriculated to Rice in the Fall 2016 year and thereafter)

Advisor Form (for OAA, OTR, and major advisor use only)

Weekly Calendar Template


Comments are closed.