Academic Credit Hour Policy

Custodian of Policy: Registrar

Effective Date: Fall 2016

Last Review: Spring 2022

Next Review: Spring 2029


In accordance with federal guidelines, academic credit hours for a course are determined by the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. The institutionally-established equivalency is not less than:

  1. One semester hour of credit is awarded for 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 1800 minutes of out-of-class student work for approximately 15 weeks, 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, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading toward to the award of credit hours.
    • For laboratories, a minimum of 100 minutes per week for 15 weeks is equivalent to one credit.
    • One semester credit of field experience requires a minimum of 40 hours of direct experience.
    • For alternate course formats which do not meet the faculty contact requirements, credit is awarded based on the equivalent face-to-face course or by assessing the amount of work required by the student.

Each academic year shall consist of at minimum 144 instructional days.

Alternative Course Formats

Any course not fitting the traditional 50 minutes per week for each credit in a face-to-face classroom. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Accelerated courses defined as courses with the normal number of seat-time hours but in a more compressed time than a traditional semester length.
  2. Hybrid courses defined as reduced seat time with an online component with the same outcomes as the traditional in-seat class.
  3. Online courses defined as completely presented in an online environment with the same outcomes as the traditional in-seat class.
  4. Internships defined as similar hours as a traditional course per credit.
  5. Clinical rotations defined as a minimum of similar hours as a traditional course per credit with specific identified outcomes. Time frames may be dictated by an accrediting agency.
  6. Individual study or research. The scope of the study or research to require the average student to work an average of three hours a week per credit for 15 weeks.


In compliance with Higher Learning Commission Policy FDCR.A.10.020 – Assignment of Credit, Program Length, and Tuition the institution shall be able to equate its learning experiences with semester credit hours using practices common to institutions of higher education.