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Credit Unit Policy

Approved March 1, 2012

 
Overview

The designation of 45 hours of academic work is considered the standard to define a semester unit.  However, since the amount of student work per unit generally includes an estimate of student preparation and studying, courses that come within 10% of meeting that requirement (at least 40.5 hours of academic work) will be determined to meet the designated level of student work for one semester unit.  As stated in the University's Faculty Handbook in Section 11.10 Contact Hours in Relation to Hours of Credit, Lecture Courses will be scheduled to allow 15 hours of lecture (one lecture hour is equal to 50 minutes).  This standard applies to face-to-face courses and synchronous online courses.  Each unit of credit is further assumed to generate a minimum of 30 hours (2 hours per week during a traditional 15 week semester or equivalent) of additional outside-of-class work (e.g. study, exam preparation, etc.).

Type of course

Instructor contact hours per semester unit

Student preparation hours per semester unit

Total hours per semester unit

Lecture

15

30

45

Laboratory

30-45

15

45

Ensemble

30-45

15

45

Studio

30-45

15

45

Independent study

Variable

 

45

Applied music

7

38

45

Internship, clinical, experiential

Variable

 

45

 

On-line and blended/hybrid courses are expected to meet the same standards as traditional courses for "instructional" time. In these courses, contact with instructors may take place via various modes of distance technology. 

Contact Hour Monitoring

Primary monitoring responsibility for courses rests with department chairs and/or academic unit administrators who have oversight responsibility for those courses.  The Center for Professional and Continuing Education may provide support and assistance for monitoring to academic units for online and blended/hybrid courses.

All new courses are evaluated by a process which includes departmental and college reviews, academic committee reviews including Academic Affairs and other appropriate committees (See Faculty Handbook, 11.4 Curriculum Changes). This review process includes justification of the requested units to be assigned to the courses based on the definition(s) for what constitutes a credit hour relative to the expected learning activities to be performed by students. Formal monitoring occurs as a part of the regular Program Review process which includes evaluation of the appropriate allocation of units assigned to all coursework (See Faculty Handbook, 10.2 Review of Academic Programs).