Credit Hour/Contact Hour Guidelines
Overview of Contact and Credit hours:
A contact hour is a measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students.
A semester credit hour is normally granted for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session (contact hour) of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks. This basic measure may be adjusted proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars and formats of study.
One credit hour should involve an input of approximately three hours per week for the average student (e.g. one hour of class and two hours of out-of-class preparation). Typically, a three semester credit hour course meets three 50-minute sessions per week for fifteen weeks for a total of 45 sessions (or two 75-minute sessions per week for fifteen weeks for a total of 30 sessions). This definition applies to all delivery formats.
Semester credit hours are granted for various types of instruction as follows:
- Lecture, discussion or seminar = one contact hour constitutes one credit hour (1:1)
- Self-Contained or Self-Directed laboratory = approximately 2 – 3 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (3:1 or 2:1)
- Studios = approximately 2 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (2:1)
- Private Lessons = 1 contact hour constitutes one credit hour (1:1)
Laboratory describes a class in which all students are engaged in the application of a scientific, technical, or clinical nature that is related to the affiliated course. The students in the room are following a similar set of instructions. The role is facilitation of students in an exercise-oriented activity for which there are goals and outcomes.
Studio describes a class in which all students are engaged in creative or artistic activities, which are new and unique and not formulated in a lecture setting. Every student in the room is performing a creative activity to obtain specific outcomes. Because it is not typically lecture-based, this requires more minute-to-minute responsibility for the faculty member to engage individual students towards their goals.
Internships, field work and practicums use the following guidelines during a 15-week semester:
- 3-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 10 contact hours/week or 150 – 200 hours/semester
- 6-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 20 contact hours/week or 300 – 400 hours/semester
- 12-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 40 contact hours/week or 600 – 750 hours/semester
It is recognized that some proposed courses will request contact hours during which a mix of activities are carried out such that no single category (discussion; laboratory; seminar) may seem entirely appropriate. In such cases, the syllabi will be approved by the Dean. Other proposed credit hour/contact hour combinations will also be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Dean.
Sample chart to be included on every syllabus:
The following table summarizes the minimum clock hour estimates for this course in compliance with Maryville University credit hour policy and Federal Guidelines (34 CFR Section 668.8).
Note: The hours presented in the table below provide estimates for the average time required for completion of course components. Students may require additional time to successfully master topics, complete projects or to comprehend required readings. Completing the times listed below does not guarantee a specific level of success in the course.
|Hours of Instruction1
|Classroom/Online Instruction/Engagement with Content
|Field Experience (Clinical, Practicum)
|Hours of Student Work Outside of Class3
|Required Discussions/Conferences/Field Experience
|Classroom Preparation (Readings/Practice/Assignments/Tutorials/Problems)
|Practice/Assignments (Case studies, etc.)
|Quiz Study, Exam Study and Take Home Exams
1 Minimum requirements for 1 credit hour are defined as 15 hours of instruction accompanying a minimum of 30 hours of out-of-class work. Hours of instruction and out-of-class work may be redistributed proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars, formats of study, and academic activities as established by the institution. Hours listed may exceed minimum requirements.
2 50 minutes of actual instruction time is the equivalent of 1 “Carnegie unit” or “Carnegie hour”. This unit of time is used only in the calculation of “Hours of Instruction” and should not be used in calculations of “Hours of Student Work Outside of Class”.
3 30 hours of out-of-class preparation per 1 credit hour is typical. Courses that deviate from this minimum due to particular pedagogical needs must meet the equivalent work requirement as specified in note 1 above. Hours listed may exceed minimum requirements.
4 60 minutes of out of class work is the equivalent of 1 “Clock Hour”. This unit of time is used only in the calculation of “Hours of Student Work Outside of Class” and should not be used in calculations of “Hours of Instruction”.