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2.18 / Definition and Assignment of Credit Hours

Purpose:
The purpose of this statement is to set forth University policy with regard to the definition of  "credit hour" and the assignment of credit hours to courses and other types of academic work.  

Preamble:
Regulations of the U.S. Department of Education require institutions of higher education to define "credit hour" and to develop policies and procedures for assignment of credit hours to courses and other types of academic work consistent with the institution's definition. 

Policy Statement:

1.  A "credit hour" is a measure of graduate or undergraduate academic work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction1 and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for each week of instructional time for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester, or an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. This unit of measure, commonly referred to as the "Carnegie unit," is a reasonable approximation of a minimum amount of student work for an on-campus course. 

2.  For purposes of laboratory work, internships, practica, clinical rotations, ensemble, studio work, distance learning and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, each credit hour should reasonably approximate an equivalent amount of work as described in Paragraph 1 above. The following definitions are provided as general guidance for approximating a minimum amount of student work in the learning formats described below: 

  1. Distance learning: One credit hour for distance learning is defined as three (3) hours of instruction and/or student work per week that leads to equivalent learning outcomes required for an on-campus course. 
  2. Field placement, internship, practicum, or clinical rotation: One (1) credit hour for field placement, internship, practicum or clinical rotation is defined as at least forty-five (45) hours of supervised work each semester. 
  3. Laboratory: One (1) credit hour for laboratory credit is defined as a minimum of two (2) class hours of work each week in a laboratory under the supervision of a lab supervisor/instructor and an expectation of one (1) class hour of additional out-of-class student work each week. 
  4. Individual study: One (1) credit hour for individualized study (e.g. thesis and independent study) is defined as a minimum of three (3) class hours of direct instruction and/or individual work each week.   

As studio and ensemble work varies between fine art disciplines, assignment of credit hour should be according to discipline standards and/or accreditation criteria. 

3.  The following procedures describe the University's process for determining the assignment of credit hours to courses:

  1. In the process of developing a new course, faculty will propose the appropriate assignment of credit hours to a course on the Curriculum Change Form.   
  2. The proposed assignment of credit hours must be submitted to the following administrators and committees, in sequential order, for review and approval:
    1. Department Chair;
    2. College Curriculum Committee;
    3. Dean of the College; and
    4. Academic Affairs Committee (for undergraduate courses) or Graduate Council (for graduate courses)
  3. The Provost and Senior Vice President or designee will provide final verification of the assignment of credit hours, and will be responsible for the interpretation of policies and procedures pertaining to the assignment of credit hours to a course or other types of academic work.   
  4. The Provost and Senior Vice President or designee will consult with departmental faculty to make changes when the assignment of credit is inconsistent with this policy. 
  5. Courses and/or academic work must be scheduled in a way that conforms to the above definition of credit hour. 
  6. Faculty must provide sufficient information and detail in syllabi to establish that the minimum amount of work expected of students is consistent with the assignment of credit hours to the course. 

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1 A class hour at Wichita State University is typically 50 minutes.  

Implementation:

This policy shall be included in the WSU Policies and Procedures Manual and shared with appropriate constituencies of the University.

The Office of Academic Affairs shall have primary responsibility for publication, dissemination and implementation of this University policy.

Effective Date: 
October 15, 2012

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