Planning Your Class Schedule

The information provided through the links below is intended to assist you in your educational planning. If you need additional help please let us know. Counselors and advisors are available to assist you throughout your educational career at DMACC; however, it is your responsibility to seek help when needed.

Course Numbering System

Courses are identified by a subject and a number. To search for courses when planning your class schedule, you will generally use the subject and number to identify the course rather than the course title.

ENG 105 Composition I
Subject Number Course Title

Community colleges in Iowa use a common course numbering system. While not all courses are offered at every college, if a course at one community college in Iowa has the same subject and number as a course at another community college in Iowa, they are considered equivalent.

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Academic Year

The Academic year at DMACC is divided into three semesters:

Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer Term
August-December
15 weeks
January - May
15 weeks
May - August
10 weeks

 

Note: Some classes meet a "part of term" and do not meet the entire semester. Be sure to identify the start and end dates for each class to determine if the class meets the entire semester or a "part of term."

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Full-time and Part-time Status

DMACC Courses range from 1-7 credits in value. Full-time and part-time status is based on the numbers of credits for which you are enrolled each semester.

Full-Time Student Status Part-time Student Status:
Semester Credits Semester Credits
Fall & Spring 12 credits or more Fall & Spring 11 credits or less
Summer Term 8 credits or more Summer Term 7 credits or less

 

Note: Students take fewer credits in the summer term because it is a shorter term and moves through course material at a faster pace.

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Credits and Study Time

One credit is equivalent to one lecture hour per week in class. For example, a 3 credit course will require a minimum of 3 hours of class time per week.

Courses that include a lab will require additional time each week.

Course descriptions describe the course, the number of credits for the course, and necessary prerequisites or co-requisites for the course.

Most courses require at least 2 hours of study time outside of class for each hour spent in class per week. An example for a full-time student is below:

12 (hours in class)
+ 24 (hours study time)
36 (hours per week required)

Note: Online courses generally require more learning time due to the independent nature of the course and the time spent learning to use the software for the course.

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Balancing Work& School

Be conservative in the number of courses you take your first semester. Full-time students are advised to work 20 hours per week or less. A key to college survival is balancing necessary study time with employment, family, and outside responsibilities.

Students that work full-time are advised to start with 1 or 2 classes. You may find that you can handle more as you learn to manage your class time and work time. A counselor or advisor can help you with this decision.

Suggestions for determining your course load are outlined below. These suggestions refer to fall and spring semesters only and are not appropriate for determining your summer term course load.

Employment Obligations Suggested Load
40 + hours/week 3 - 4 credit hours (1 course)
30 - 40 hours/week 3 - 6 credit hours (1-2 courses)
20 - 30 hours/week 6 - 9 credit hours (2-3 courses)
20 hours/week or less 12-16 credit hours (4-5 courses)

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Course Selection- Building Your Schedule

The following outline provides tips for planning your class schedule:

  • Review your ACT or Compass assessment scores, your high school courses and grades, and relevant college courses you've completed to help determine the level of classes for which you are ready. Be honest with yourself, and schedule college preparatory courses if necessary. College preparatory courses help you improve your skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. In other words, the skills necessary for you to complete your educational goals.
  • Review the course requirements for your degree program as listed on the Program Information Brief (or program summary).
  • If the courses for your program are listed term by term, then follow that sequence as closely as possible. Contact your advisor or program instructor with questions.
  • Include courses in your schedule which meet your degree requirements, build skills for more difficult courses you will need in the future, relate to a major at a four-year college, or allow you to explore a particular career field.
  • Take a variety of courses to build a balanced schedule. Choose courses from a variety of disciplines to avoid being overloaded in any one particular subject. Some courses require constant discipline (daily homework) such as math, accounting, and foreign language. Other courses allow you to have more control over when you must get your homework or reading assignments completed.
  • For your first semester, consider taking SDV 108 College: Planning Your Success (1 credit) and SDV 115 Study Strategies (2 credits). These courses help new students transition to the college environment and develop strong study skills. (Note: SDV 115 requires college-level reading and writing skills. If you are taking preparatory reading or writing courses, wait to take SDV 115 until completing your preparatory courses.)
  • If you are undecided about your career path, consider taking SDV 130 Career Exploration (1 credit).
  • If you are planning to transfer to a four-year college, consider taking SDV 165 Transfer Planning (1 credit).
  • Refer to the Course Descriptions to make sure you know the content of the courses you have selected and that you have met all prerequisites.
  • Check the Course Schedule to determine the courses being offered and how many sections are being offered for each course.
  • As you plan your schedule, start with the courses that have the fewest sections being offered and the courses that require lab time first. Then fit in the courses with the most sections being offered.

The following worksheets are intended to assist you with your class schedule planning:

 

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