Assigning Credit for Courses

What is a "credit hour?"

A credit hour is a precise measurement reflecting the amount of work and time associated with a single academic credit. It includes the amount of instruction and supplementary assignments required for each credit a student earns when successfully completing a course. It can also be referred to as a “semester hour."

Which courses are required to meet the credit hour standard?

All courses that grant academic credit are required to comply with the credit hour standard. This is a federal, state, and accreditation requirement.

What, exactly, is required?

For each credit associated with a course, the course must include the appropriate amount of instructional time and supplementary assignment time associated with a single credit according to the federal definition of a credit hour. The total amount required per week for a course will be determined by the length of the course and the number of credits conferred to a student who successfully completes the course.

How do I calculate what is required?


One credit requires at least:

  •  750 minutes of instructional time (15, 50-minute “hours” of required instruction)
  • 1500 minutes of supplementary time (30, 50-minute “hours” of required supplementary assignments)

Sample Calculation

Minimum instructional time required per credit is calculated by multiplying the number of credits awarded by 750 minutes. For example:

  • A 3-credit course would need to include at least 2,250 minutes of instructional time (750 minutes x 3 credits = 2,250 minutes) in a given semester.
  • If a 3-credit course meets for 140 minutes per week, for 14-weeks (140 minutes x 14 weeks = 1,960 minutes), there would need to be an additional 290 minutes of instructional time  completed outside of the classroom in order to meet the credit hour requirement (2,250 minutes - 1,960 minutes = 290 minutes).
  • Please see the ‘What counts as instructional time?’ section below for a few examples of the kinds of instructional activities that instructors often use outside the classroom.  

How does satisfying the instructional and supplementary time requirements for courses translate into weekly minutes for a 15, 14, or 7 week course?

Supplementary time is calculated in the same manner, with 1500 minutes required for each credit granted.

Determining Instructional Vs Supplemental Time

What counts as “instructional time?”

Any activity within a course that is BOTH required, and involves supervision, can count!

Guidance for Non-Traditional Courses