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Courses & Majors

Your student may have it all figured out—major, courses, graduate school. Or maybe not. One in five freshmen comes to IU as an exploratory student. Of those students who have chosen a major before enrolling, 50 to 60 percent change their majors at least once—and often two or three times—during their IU careers.

Most students have been exposed to only a few of the more than 150 undergraduate majors available at IU, and we encourage them to explore our diverse offerings. Here’s how:

  • University Division: This division provides expert advisors to help students either confirm their major choices or investigate their alternatives. Exploratory Student Resources provides an Explore Majors at IU website to help students find majors that match their interests.
  • Career Development Center: The center offers individualized career counseling, a resource library, and classes dealing with major exploration and career development.

Here are a few other aspects of our academic experience you should know about:

Class Size

The average number of students per class is 35, and fewer than seven percent of the undergraduate classes at IU have more than 100 students. Many larger courses include small discussion groups and/or labs, which provide more personal attention. If your student has a large lecture course, we recommend sitting close to the front, asking questions, and following up with the professor with questions during office hours or by e-mail.

Graduate Assistants

Full-time faculty teach the overwhelming majority of IU lectures and classes. The remainder—generally courses with many small sections—may use graduate assistants, who are carefully trained under the supervision of full-time faculty. Typically, faculty give the lectures and graduate assistants are responsible for leading the small discussion groups that accompany most lectures.

Time in Class and Time Studying

Students spend about one hour in class per week for every credit hour they take. In other words, if your student is taking 15 credit hours during the fall semester, he or she can expect to spend about 15 hours per week in class. Students should expect to average about three hours of studying (including time spent on library work, research papers, group projects, and so on) for each hour spent in the classroom. This is an appropriate and realistic guideline, though there are exceptions.


More than 95 percent of IU students have their own computers. Every room in the residence hall system is fitted with one high-speed Ethernet connection per person, allowing fast and free Internet access, and IU has one of the largest wireless networks of any campus in the country. If your student chooses to bring a computer to campus, IU provides recommendations and computer specifications online at University Information Technology Services (UITS) offers additional support and resources.

But students don’t need to bring their own computers. There are more than 95 technology centers across campus in academic buildings and residence halls. Use of most campus information technology resources is covered by the student technology fee, which also covers student computing accounts, workshops, 24-hour help desks, publications, tutorials, consulting, and classes. In addition, students can receive special educational pricing from companies such as Apple and Dell. IU offers free or low-cost Windows and Macintosh software.

Support Services and Tutoring

IU has many support services for students, including personal academic advising, an Academic Support Center location in every residential neighborhood, the Student Academic Center (which offers courses on study techniques and time management), and Writing Tutorial Services.

Course Availability

IU generally does not have a problem with course availability. Class sections close or fill up occasionally, but with 4,000 courses offered each semester, students can put together a viable schedule. For most programs, there are many ways to fulfill specific graduation requirements.

Graduation Timeline

Most students carrying a standard course load should have no problem completing their graduation requirements in four years. Of course, not all students find that the traditional four-year limit meets their needs. Decisions to carry a double major or to change majors late in a college career may entail extra time as an undergraduate.