||This policy defines the amount of instruction and student work expected for each credit
hour (or unit of credit).
||CSU Coded Memorandum AA:2011-14 (CSU Definition of Credit Hour) issued October 4,
||All courses for which credit is measured in semester units.
||View Signatures for Credit Hour Policy
I. CREDIT HOUR POLICY
CSUSM measures student learning in accordance with the WASC Policy on Credit Hour,
which relies on the federal regulations on the definition and assignment of credit
Under federal regulations, all candidate and accredited institutions are responsible
to comply with the definition of the credit hour as provided in section 600.2, which
defines the credit hour as:
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 –
- 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
- 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.
For the purpose of applying this definition, a 50-minute class period is considered
to be “one hour” and a semester with 70-75 instructional days is considered to be
an “approximately fifteen-week semester.”
II. CREDIT HOUR PROCEDURES
A. For courses with face-to-face instruction
- In courses with a “lecture” mode of instruction (C1 through C6), sections are typically
scheduled to meet weekly over the entire semester for the same number of “hours” as
credits being earned by students; sections scheduled for shorter terms have the number
of “hours” adjusted in proportion to the length of the term. In such sections, the
course syllabus must include a statement to the effect that students are expected
to spend a minimum of two hours outside of the classroom each week for each unit of
credit engaged in learning. Further comments giving direction on the nature of this
out-of-class work (e.g., readings, homework exercises, writing papers, preparing reports,
service learning activities, etc.) are recommended, but not required.
Sample statement (for a 3- unit course): “Students are expected to spend six hours
each week working on this course beyond attending the lectures. Each week you should….”
- In courses with an activity or laboratory mode of instruction (C7 through C17), the
activity or laboratory portion of the section is typically scheduled to meet for two
or three “hours” each week of the semester (depending on the particular instructional
mode, and prorated for terms of other length). In such sections, the course syllabus
must include a statement to the effect that students are expected to spend a minimum
of two hours outside of the classroom engaged in learning. Again, further comments
giving direction on the nature of this out-of-class work (e.g., practice work, writing
lab reports, readings, etc.) are recommended, but not required.
B. For courses offered entirely on-line
The syllabus must describe the activities that the student will be required to complete
as part of the course and indicate the expected minimum time that students will need
to devote to each of these. The total expected time should be a minimum of 45 hours
per semester for each unit of credit.
C. For hybrid courses where some face-to-face instruction has been replaced with an
The syllabus should communicate an expectation to students that they should plan on
devoting a minimum of 45 hours per semester for each unit of credit through attending
class, working online, and other out-of-class work.