Credit-Contact Hour Relationship Policy

Credit-Contact Hour Relationship Policy


Office of Academic Affairs


College Registrar


Academic and Student Affairs



Effective Date:


Implementation History:

June 19, 1980 current version, original implementation June 30, 1976


Semester credit hour, contact hour

Background Information:


The purpose of this policy is to describe the relationship between instructional contact hours and credit awards.


Definitions are embedded in the policy statement.


Lecture, Seminar, Quiz, Discussion, Recitation

A semester credit hour is an academic unit earned for 15 50-minute sessions of classroom instruction with a normal expectation of two hours of outside study for each class session. Typically, a three-semester credit-hour course meets for three 50-minute sessions per week for 15 weeks for a total of 45 sessions.

Activity Supervised As A Group (laboratory, field trip, practicum, workshop, group studio)

A semester credit hour is awarded for the equivalent of 15 periods of such activity, where each activity period is 150 minutes or more in duration with little or no outside preparation expected. Forty-five 50-minute sessions of such activity would normally earn 1 semester credit hour. Where such activity involves substantial outside preparation by the student, the equivalent of 15 periods of 100 minutes duration each will earn 1 semester credit hour.

Supervised Individual Activity (independent study, individual studio, tutorial)

  1. One credit for independent study (defined as study given initial guidance, criticism, review and final evaluation of student performance by a faculty member) will be awarded for the equivalent of 45 50-minute sessions of student academic activity.
  2. Credit for tutorial study (defined as study accorded initial faculty guidance followed by repeated, regularly scheduled individual student conferences with a faculty member, and periodic, as well as final evaluation of student performance) will be awarded on the basis of 1 semester hour credit for each equivalent of 15 contact hours of regularly scheduled instructional sessions.

Full-Time Independent Study (Student teaching, practicum)

If a student's academic activity is essentially full time (as in student teaching), 1 semester credit hour may be awarded for each week of work.

Experiential Learning

At its discretion, an institution may award credit hours for learning acquired outside the institution, which is an integral part of a program of study.

When life or work experience is to be credited as a concurrent portion of an academic program design, as in an internship, 1 semester credit hour will be
awarded for each 40-45 clock-hour week of supervised academic activity that provides the learning considered necessary to program study.

Credit By Examination

At its discretion an institution may award semester hour credits for mastery demonstrated through credit by examination. When such credit by examination is allowed, it may be used to satisfy degree requirements or to reduce the total number of remaining hours required for a degree.

Short Sessions

Credit hours may be earned in short sessions (summer sessions, intersessions, etc.) proportionately to those earned for the same activity during a regular term of the institution, normally at no more than one credit per week of full-time study

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices


Appeal and Review

Institutions may present educational justification for departures from these policy provisions to this office, which will be responsible for their interpretation. Credit hours to be earned in approved overseas academic programs will continue to be considered on an individual basis following established procedures. Other special arrangements suggested by campuses will be considered on an individual basis by this office.