Credit Hour Policy

Policy Name: Credit Hour Policy
Policy ID Number: 02-01-012
Version Effective Date: February 23, 2015
Last reviewed on: January 1, 2019
Policy Applies To: University Wide
Responsible Office: Provost

The US Department of Education requires that post-secondary institutions develop written policies regarding assignment of credit hours that conforms to the definition in the Federal Register. The federal definition for a credit hour, which is consistent with the Carnegie Unit, is:

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 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 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 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. (CFR 600.2)

The New Jersey Administrative Code defines semester credit hour as:
50 minutes of face-to-face class activity each week for 15 weeks (or the equivalent attained by scheduling more minutes of face-to-face class activity per week for fewer weeks in the semester) in one semester complemented by at least 100 minutes each week of laboratory or outside assignments (or the equivalent thereof for semesters of different length).

New Jersey City University abides by the Federal and State definitions of a credit hour and adopts a policy consistent with the Carnegie Unit. A one-credit class represents 150 minutes of academic work per week (e.g., one 50 minute class meeting plus 100 minutes of preparation). For a 15-week semester, this is equivalent to 37.5 hours. The standard NJCU semester is 15 weeks, with a 16th final examination week that does not count in the total time calculation.

This policy applies to all types of courses and all delivery formats, as outlined below:

Seminar and Lecture
One credit hour for a lecture (LEC) or seminar (SEM) course represents 50 minutes per week of scheduled class time and a minimum of 100 minutes per week of student preparation time for a regular (15-week) semester. For instance, a three-credit class represents 37.5 hours of in-class time and 75 hours of preparation time, or 112.5 hours total.

Lab and Studio
One credit hour for a lab (LAB) or studio (STU) course represents a minimum 150 minutes per week of class time, either individual or supervised. There is no minimum required amount of

Clinical, Cooperative Education, Field Experience, Independent Study, Internship, Performance, Practicum, Project, Thesis
One credit hour for a Clinical (CLN), Cooperative Education (COP), Field Experience (FLD), Independent Study (IND), Internship (INT), Performance (PER), Practicum (PRC), Project (PRO), Thesis (THE) represents a minimum of 150 minutes per week of supervised and/or independent practice.

Delivery Formats
The above definitions refer to face-to-face courses. The total amount of academic work per credit hour for online or blended formats remains the same. Academic work is comprised of, as appropriate, class meeting time, synchronous online course activities, asynchronous online course activities, and student preparation.

Non-Standard Length Semesters
The total amount of academic work per semester for courses offered for fewer or more than 15 weeks is adjusted accordingly to achieve the total 37.5 hours of academic work per semester.

As deemed necessary or appropriate by the Policy Coordinator but at a minimum, at least every 5 years from the date of last review.