Scheduling Basics

Before you view the sample schedule for your major, there are some fundamental things you should know about scheduling for autumn semester at Ohio State.

How many courses will you schedule for autumn semester?

The number of classes you schedule will depend on the number of credit hours associated with each course you are planning to take.  A typical course load for a student in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program includes 14 to 16 credit hours.  Depending on what classes you choose to take, your autumn semester schedule will likely include four to six courses. 

You probably took more than four or five classes each semester in high school, but there is a significant difference between high school and college in terms of the ratio of class time to homework time.  In college, you are expected to spend a majority of the time mastering course material outside of the classroom.  An often-cited rule of thumb indicates that to earn a "C," you must spend at least two hours studying for every hour you spend in class.  The following provides an example of study time in a typical semester schedule:

Study Time and Hours in Class for a Grade of "C"

  • Class 1 - 1 credit, 1 hour in class (1 x 2 = 2 hours of study)
  • Class 2 - 4 credits, 4 hours in class (4 x 2 = 8 hours of study)
  • Class 3 - 3 credits, 3 hours in class (3 x 2 = 6 hours of study)
  • Class 3 - 3 credits, 3 hours in class (3 x 2 = 6 hours of study)
  • Class 3 - 3 credits, 3 hours in class (3 x 2 = 6 hours of study)
    Total: 14 credits, 14 hours in class (28 hours of study) per week, 42 hour total time commitment (again, to get all Cs)

In the above example, the total time commitment per week is 14 hours in class and 28 hours outside of the classroom.  The above schedule requires a dedication of 42 hours per week, the equivalent of a full-time job.  "A" and "B" grades will require a time commitment beyond 42 hours per week.

What kind of courses will you schedule?

A liberal arts degree at Ohio State

In order to earn a degree from The Ohio State University, you will complete course work from four possible areas:

  • General education courses
  • Major prerequisite courses (if any)
  • Major courses
  • Electives

General education courses form the foundation of a liberal arts degree and will likely make up the majority of your schedule in your first semester.  Every student is required to take some course work in writing, mathematics, world languages, the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and historical study.  These classes make up the General Education requirements, and you will be required to take them in addition to the classes you take toward your major.  Your first semester is a great time to focus on completing general education requirements and major prerequisites.

Honors courses

You are encouraged to take honors courses during your first semester at Ohio State.  Honors courses usually enroll approximately 25 to 35 students and are typically taught by members of the faculty.  Depending on your major and placement levels, you may choose to take as many as two or three honors courses during autumn semester.  In some cases, particularly if you are majoring in the natural sciences, it may not be possible for you to schedule an honors course for autumn semester.  Scheduling honors courses will be discussed in more detail during the scheduling session on Day One of orientation.  Honors advisors will help you put together a balanced autumn semester schedule that includes an appropriate number of honors courses.

Preparing for the health professions (pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, etc.)

Advisor helping a student schedule.

To be eligible to apply to post-undergraduate professional programs in the health professions, you should plan to complete general chemistry (Chemistry 1210-1220) during your first year, or as soon as your math placement allows.  View detailed information on pre-health requirements.  Honors advisors will be able to assist you in planning a schedule that helps you meet any pre-professional requirements.

Next: Scheduling Tools