Credit/Contact Hour Policy

  • Academic
  • Registration and Records
  • Student - Graduate
  • Student - Undergraduate
Responsible Unit Office of Academic Affairs
Responsible Cabinet Member Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Adoption Date 2017-Fall
Last Revision Date 2017-09-11
Last Review Date

Policy Statement

 An explanation of how credit hours are assigned to courses, as adopted from SUNY Policy.


There is no purpose/scope provided for this policy at this time


There is no applicability provided for this policy at this time


 There are no definitions for this policy at this time.

Policy Procedures

A semester credit hour is normally granted for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session 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. Semester credit hours are granted for various types of instruction as follows:

I. Lecture, seminar, quiz, discussion, recitation

A semester credit hour is an academic unit earned for fifteen 50-minute sessions of classroom instruction with a normal expectation of two hours of outside study for each class session. 

II. Activity supervised as a group (laboratory, field trip, practicum, workshop, group studio)

A semester credit hour is awarded for the equivalent of fifteen periods of such activity, where each activity period is 150 minutes or more in duration with little or no outside preparation expected. Forty-five 50-minute sessions of such activity would also normally earn one semester credit hour. Where such activity involves substantial outside preparation by the student, the equivalent of fifteen periods of 100 minutes duration each will earn one semester credit hour.

III. Supervised individual activity (independent study, individual studio, tutorial)

One credit for independent study (defined as study given initial guidance, criticism, review and final evaluation of student performance by a faculty member) will be awarded for the equivalent of forty-five 50-minute sessions of student academic activity.

Credit for tutorial study (defined as study which is given initial faculty guidance followed by repeated, regularly scheduled individual student conferences with a faculty member, and periodic as well as final evaluation of student performance) will be awarded on the basis of one semester hour credit for each equivalent of fifteen contact hours of regularly scheduled instructional sessions.

IV. Full-time Independent Study (student teaching, practicum)

If a student’s academic activity is essentially full-time (as in student teaching), one semester credit hour may be awarded for each week of work.

V. Experiential Learning

At its discretion, an institution may award credit hours for learning acquired outside the institution which is an integral part of a program of study. When life or work experience is to be credited as a concurrent portion of an academic program design, as in an internship, one semester credit hour will be awarded for each 40-45 clock-hour week of supervised academic activity that provides the learning considered necessary to program study.

VI. Credit by Examination

At its discretion, an institution may award semester hour credits for mastery demonstrated through credit-by-examination. When such credit by examination is allowed, it may be used to satisfy degree requirements or to reduce the total number of remaining hours required for a degree and is treated as transfer credit. 

VII. Short Sessions-Intensive Format

Credit hours may be earned in short sessions (summer sessions, intersessions, etc.) proportionately to those earned for the same activity during a regular term of the institution.

VIII. Online and Hybrid Courses

Courses offered entirely online without any face-to-face class (F2F) sessions have the same learning outcomes, substantive components, and requirements of a standard lecture/seminar course with an alternate delivery method. Contact time is satisfied by several means which can include but is not limited to, the following: 1) regular instruction or interaction with a faculty member via email, phone, Collaborate, Skype, etc.; 2) academic engagement through interactive tutorials, group discussions moderated by faculty, virtual study/project groups, engaging with class peers and computer tutorials graded and reviewed by faculty. In all such instances, these courses must meet minimally the total amount of instructional and student work time as the examples of traditional instruction above, when delivered online asynchronously or synchronously.

Courses offered in a hybrid format with one or more face to face class sessions and at least one or more online session, both containing direct interaction with a faculty member: Contact time is assessed using both on-site definitions (for the F2F portion) and online definitions as above the onsite definition. In all such instances, these courses must meet minimally the total amount of instructional and student work time as the traditional examples above.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

Related to section VI:

Credit by Examination supporting document

Contact Information

 There is no contact information for this policy at this time.

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date 2022-Fall Five-year review
Revision Date 2017-09-11 Section VIII added to policy
Senate Approval Date 2017-09-11 Policy Approved by Senate
Adoption Date 2017-Fall Policy Adopted


This policy was approved by President’s Cabinet on 2017-12-13