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Credit Hour Definition Policy



Federal Mandate:
Academic credit hours are a common metric for measuring enrollment status and degree completion but there is no commonly accepted, national definition for a credit hour.  Additionally, credit hours are used to define programs eligible for Title IV funding and the amount of financial aid for which a student may be eligible.

The United States Department of Education requires, as part of the program integrity initiative, that each institution define a credit hour according to the guidelines provided by its accrediting agency and by the state authorizing the institution.

New York State Regulations:
(o) Semester hour means a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments, except as otherwise provided pursuant to section 52.2(c)(4) of this Subchapter.  This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.

Additional Considerations:
Changes in instructional technology, delivery format and other pedagogical considerations require a definition that moves beyond the traditional seat-time definition.  Institutionally, credit hours are used to define faculty workloads, student credit loads and student grade point averages.



A. One semester hour of credit will be awarded for:

  1. A minimum of 750 minutes of live or recorded instructor-led class time.  This includes lectures, discussions and other instructional methodologies, in any combination.

  2. A minimum of 1,500 minutes of supervised laboratory time.

  3. A minimum of 2,250 minutes of self-paced laboratory time.

  4. An on-line or hybrid learning experience that equates to an equivalent amount of time in structured learning activities (i.e. learning activities that would normally take place in class such as on-line quizzes, lecture podcasts, synchronous learning activities and discussion boards) bu that does not include activities such as homework and class preparation that would normally not count toward instructional time.

B. Examples of activities that do not count toward instructional time:  readings, homework and other intrinsic preparation or activities (e.g. practicing calculations).


Approved by the Faculty Senate: February 24, 2012

Approved by the President: March 6, 2012