Semester Credit Hour Policy

Approved by CUE 1/29/2013

The unit of semester credit is defined as university-level credit that is awarded for completion of coursework, the transfer of coursework from another institution, or the evaluation of college-level prior learning. One credit hour (at least 50 minutes) reflects an amount of work represented in the intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement for these learning outcomes. A credit hour is awarded on the basis of one of three sets of criteria.

  1. For in-class courses: The completion of one credit hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two credit hours of out-of-class student work each week for one semester (15 weeks); or
  2. For online, hybrid, and accelerated courses: The completion of an equivalent amount of faculty instruction and student work, as stipulated above in paragraph (1), that may occur over a different amount of time; or
  3. For other academic activities: The completion of an institutionally sanctioned academic activity (e.g., externship, practicum, internship, independent study, studio work, laboratory work, fieldwork, and pre-dissertation/thesis work) that is equivalent to the amount of work stipulated in paragraph (1), that may occur over a different amount of time.

Traditional in-class Credit Bearing Course or Online Course (Per Semester)

Non-Traditional Credit Bearing Experience (e.g. Internship, Independent Study) (Per Semester)

Credit Hours Earned

Minimum amount of Instruction Time Required

Minimum Amount of  Time Required Outside of Class/Instruction Time

Amount of Time required for all Activities

(Note: this is the same as the previous  two columns combined)

1 Credit 12.5 hours 25 hours 37.5 hours
2 Credits 25 hours 50 hours 75 hours
3 Credits 37.5 hours 75 hours 112.5 hours
4 Credits 50 hours 100 hours 150 hours
5 Credits 62.5 hours 125 hours 187.5 hours

For example, in a three credit hour traditional in-class course, students spend 150 minutes in class per week for 15 weeks, resulting in 37.5 contact hours for the semester. Students are expected to engage in reading and other assignments outsides of class for at least 5 hours per week, which adds up to 75 hours. These two sums should result in total student engagement time of 112.5 hours for the course. In a three credit internship, these hours may be allotted differently.  For example, the student may spend 1 hour a week for 15 weeks in meetings with their supervisor, work at their placement 4 hours a week for 15 weeks, and spend at least 37.5 hours during the semester on planning and documentation. The total student engagement time is the same (i.e., at least 112.5 hours). Note that these time allotments are minimums, not maximums.

All credit-bearing experiences (except dissertation-related hours/courses) require syllabi, which will include the number of credit hours, class meeting times or minimum number of hours required at an alternative site, and a schedule of required assignments.