Skip to main content

200.12 - Credit Hour

University Group Policy #200.12

I.  Policy Statement

For purposes of the application of this policy and in accord with federal regulations, 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:

  1. Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours 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;
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, independent study and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

II.    Guidelines

The expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course whether it be fully online, a hybrid of face-to-face contact with some content delivered by electronic means, or one delivered in lecture or seminar format. Courses that have less structured classroom schedules, such as research seminars, independent studies, internships, practica, studio work, or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should state clearly learning objectives and expected outcomes and workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.

Academic Calendar: Winston-Salem State University adheres to the Carnegie unit for contact time and thus the Academic Calendar must have a minimum of 750 minutes of instruction per credit hour. The typical meeting times for courses are a 50-minute, Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule and a 75-minute, Tuesday-Thursday schedule although variations may exist as long as they meet the minimums for contact time. The calendar is planned with a minimum of 42 Monday-Wednesday-Friday (MWF) meeting days and 28 Tuesday-Thursday (TTh) meeting days. A schedule of standard meeting times for MWF and TTh courses must be maintained to lessen conflicts between course times. The policy allows a mandatory examination period to be counted in the minutes of instruction. The university has a required two hour and forty five minute final examination schedule that adds an additional 165 minutes of instruction for every planned term in the Academic Calendar. The calculation for summer sessions follows this same standard of 750 contact minutes for each unit of credit which means longer class meeting times over the course of the summer terms. The Registrar facilitates the Faculty University Calendar Committee that prepares and recommends the annual Academic Calendar for approval by the Chancellor no less than 18 months in advance of the planned academic year. The Registrar maintains the official Academic Calendar and the exam schedule on its website.

III.     Applicability

This credit hour policy applies to all courses at all levels (graduate, professional, and undergraduate) that award academic credit (i.e. any course that appears on an official transcript issued by the university) regardless of the mode of delivery including, but not limited to, self-paced, online, hybrid, lecture, seminar, and laboratory. Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy.

Responsible Division: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: December 9, 2016