So, you decided to take some years off (for whatever reasons). And, now, you’re planning to continue your degree course from where you left off! Fortunately, the credit hour system helps you to resume your degree course as opposed to starting from scratch.

However, the big question is: how long do college credits last? Technically, never! College credits do not have any specific expiration dates.

However, their value may diminish over time. There are several factors that determine the (true) validity of your college credits.

What are the factors that determine the college credits life-shelf?

  • Core classes

Core classes are the main deciding factors of your college credits’ life-shelf. For instance, science, engineering, and maths courses usually have 10-year validity.

On the other hand, general education courses tend to have significantly longer life-shelf.  

  • Overall GPA

Some colleges may consider your overall GPA to determine if your credit score is transferrable.

  • Practical experience

Your college credits life-shelf may also increase if you have relevant experience in your particular field of study.

How long do college credits last without a degree?

Technically, college credits have no expiry date. However, some institutions impose validity restrictions (based on factors above).

If you’re asking yourself: how long do college credits last without a degree, it is safe to assume a time window between 5-10 years.

On the other hand, professional degree courses have shorter credit hour life-shelf. This is mainly because their methodology changes frequently. 

How many credits to graduate college?

It is quite common to wonder how many credits you need to graduate from college.

The standard number of credits you need to graduate college with an associate degree is 60.

However, if you want to graduate college with a complete bachelor’s degree, you will need a credit of 120.

How to find old college credits?

Finding your old college credits is rather simple. You can either go to your previous school website or contact them directly to find your old college credits.

However, many schools have strict policies against making such information public. As such, you will have to know your student ID number and your social security number to access your old college credits.

How to know what credits you have?

The best (and also the easiest way) to know what credits you have is to go to your school or school district website. Usually, you can find information like your current grades, past credits, and personal information on the website.

All the related information can be found under the transcript tab. If the online service is not available, you can directly contact your school and verify the standard procedure.

To calculate your total credits, you can simply add all the credits starting from your first high school course and so on.


On papers, the concept of college credits may appear easy and straightforward. However, making use of it can be quite a tricky task. Luckily, if you know how college credits’ life-shelf works, you can easily get your way around it.



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