Semester/Credit Hours

A semester or credit hour represents the successful completion of a minimum of one 1-hour session of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks. This basic measure may be adjusted proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars and formats of study. One credit hour should involve an input of at least three hours per week for the average student (e.g. one hour of class and two hours of out-of-class preparation). Typically, a three credit hour course meets for three 1-hour sessions per week for fifteen weeks for a total of 45 sessions.


Credit hours are granted for various types of instruction as follows:
1.       Lecture, discussion or seminar: one contact hour constitutes one credit hour (1:1)
2.       Self-Contained laboratory period (under direct supervision of faculty, including music ensembles and studio classes):
          3 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (3:1)
3.       Non-Self-Contained Laboratory Session (requires outside preparation by student, including internships and practica):
          2 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (2:1)
4.       Adult Degree Program, Hybrid and online, and other courses of less than a full semester’s duration should be
          commensurate with the above guidelines, and will generally follow the 1:1 formula.  In order to compensate for the
          loss of contact hours, courses may either hold longer class times than the regular academic schedule, or add a
          component of coursework to equalize the workload with a traditional semester course. Courses taught in a non-
          traditional medium or with fewer than standard classroom hours must achieve the same learning outcomes as a
          traditional class meeting for a standard 15-week semester.
Other proposed credit hour/contact hour combinations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis using the above guidelines, and a decision made by the faculty of the department of division. It is the responsibility of the curriculum committee to ensure that new courses meet the credit policy expectations in the approval process.


​​The Federal Government’s Definition of a Credit Hour:​

Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than --


  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.