Unit of Credit

Unit of Credit

Standard Policy
In order to receive one hour of credit for one semester or trimester course, students will engage in approximately 750 minutes of contact time with the instructor of record and approximately 1500 non-contact minutes.

In order to receive one hour of credit for a quarter term course, students engage in approximately 550 minutes of contact time with the instructor of record and approximately 1100 non-contact minutes.

Equivalencies to the Standard Policy
In some cases the ratio of contact to non-contact activity may be adjusted in order to achieve learning outcomes according to pedagogical standards in a particular area of study.  Courses requiring more than the amount of contact time described in the standard policy (such as laboratory courses, language courses, studion courses and practica) may require commensurately less non-contact time than others.  Courses requiring less than the standard amount of contact time (such as independent studies, internships, sevice-learning courses and courses utitlizing online or hybrid instruction) may require commensurately more non-contact time.

Federal Definition of a Unit of Credit
Federal regulations regarding the definition and assignment of credit hours under Section 600.2 and 600.24(f) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act now state, in part, that a unit of credit 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:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately...ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit or the equivalent amount of work over a different period of time; or
  2. 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."

College Responsibilities
The College's accrediting agency, WASC (Western Association of Schools of Colleges) will monitor our progress in developing assessment techniques and reporting strategies to fulfill this requirement. Specifically, WASC requires that the College:

  • Adopt and apply policy on credit hour consistent with federal definition
  • Implement process for assuring "reliability and accuracy" of assignment of credit hours across all credit bearing activities
  • Incorporate credit hour review into comprehensive self-study requirements

Schools, departments, and faculty are requested to prepare to compy with this policy. We recommend that you begin by including expected amount of work information on your syllabus and in your CourseWork site for each course that you teach.

WASC's Responsibilities
WASC is responsible under the new federal regulations to:

  • Adopt policy and procedure for review of institutional responsibilities
  • Demonstrate that a review of credit hours is reflected in institutional self-studies and comprehensive team reports
  • Determine that credit hour assignments "conform to commonly accepted practice in higher education"
  • Optionally use sampling of course credit hour assignments
  • Require corrections of deficiencies
  • Promptly notify the Secretary of Education if systemic noncompliance is found, or significant noncompliance with one or more programs