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Course Overload Advice

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So, advice pls.....anyone taken a course overload?

I have 6 courses (18 credits left) in my Phd program...and am seriously considering taking a double course load this Fall. I can handle the extra tuition costs myself so I am not worried about the 9 credits not covered by my fellowship. Timewise, I think I could make it work well.

Basically, in a past semester, I worked 30 hours per week at another university, kept up things at home (small child--preschool age), and taken 4 graduate courses with an A average.

So, serving as a TA for 15 hours a week and taking 6 courses seems doable as I won't be working and won't have familial obligations. This is partly why I am considering requesting permission for a course overload. My spouse's employment moved to another area and so we had to relocate. Hence, I'd much rather finish coursework in one semester instead of two and have more time with my family.

Any advice from pros? ;)

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You could end up slammed at the end of the semester. I had a fellowship and took four courses each semester in the first year of my MA program. It was a lot and probably unnecessarily stressful. It made reading for and writing my proposal really difficult.

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Partially is a long way from finished. Mine was partially finished from November to April... I would talk to your faculty members about it and look at syllabi before committing to taking six courses in one semester. Plus, I think you might be underestimating how much you'll need free time to think, read for comps, have a life, etc. It'll get even worse midway through the semester when you're missing your family. If you sink into a phase where for even three or four days you don't do any work, you're probably going to be screwed.

Could you take fewer classes this term and do independent studies next semester (from a distance) to complete your remaining course work?

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Unfortunately, independent studies isn't an option in my program. Regarding comprehensives, I would take these at the end of April if I finish my coursework at the end of December. We are allowed till the end of of the first semester following coursework completion. So, that would provide time to prepare for comps and continue to work on the proposal.

During the fall semester, I would almost exclusively focus on the coursework. I have looked at the syllabi for the courses ahead of time and a number of the reading assignments will overlap with comps material. This would definitely take a great deal of preparation and I would need to stick to a strict schedule.

"If you sink into a phase where for even three or four days you don't do any work, you're probably going to be screwed." Amen!

I am going to also look at the option of taking the remaining 3 courses at another university and transferring these to my program. It seems like it might be a possibility.

Any other considerations? Also, thank you for your helpful comments. I hope others benefit from this discussion as well.

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I like the idea of you taking classes at another university. Just make sure they'll transfer before you enroll in them. Could you do a distance learning kind of thing? I was in a seminar where one person teleconferenced for the whole semester. It actually worked pretty well so maybe that could be an option for you?

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