Credit to Clock Hour Policy

Statutory Requirements

Federal Program Integrity – 2021

Definition of a Credit Hour (600.2)

  • “One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 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
  • At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of the 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.”

Definition of a Clock Hour (600.2)

“A period of time consisting of:

  • A 50-60 minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period;
  • A 50-60 minute faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period;
  • In distance education, 50-60 minutes in a 60-minute period of attendance in:
    • A synchronous or asynchronous class, lecture, or recitation where there is opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students; or
    • An asynchronous learning activity involving academic engagement in which the student interacts with technology that can monitor and document the amount of time that the student participates in the activity”

For Certificate Programs eligible for clock-to-credit hour conversion [668.8(k)(1)&(l)] “A semester hour must include at least 30 clock hours of instruction.“

Definition of Distance Education (600.2)

  • Education that uses one or more of the technologies listed below “to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor or instructors and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor or instructors, either synchronously or asynchronously.
    • The internet;
    • One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;
    • Audio conference; or
    • Other media used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in paragraphs (2)(i) through (iii) of this definition.”


General Principles:

  1. The academic year will be two 16 week semesters (Fall and Spring), a 3 week J-Term, and one 8 week summer session
    • A 16 week semester can include 16 weeks of general instruction.
    • Within the 16 weeks is included time for experiential learning activities.
  2. Academic terms may include general instruction and experiential learning activities
  3. The credit hour will be calculated on a 50 minute nominal hour and is the same for every delivery method
  4. Experiential Delivery Methods that take place at an alternative facility or off campus, such as an internship, travel study or clinical, cannot comprise more than 25% of the overall program requirements, which includes both Technical and Arts & Sciences courses.
Credit Allocation by Category

The following categories will be used to assign credits 

Category Course Type Definition
Lecture Lecture, Seminar Lecture: one credit equals one nominal hour in combination of face-to-face or distance/hybrid instruction with a minimum of two nominal hours of out of class student work (homework and application) each week for approximately 16 weeks for one semester for a total of 48 Clock Hours. Seminar: One credit equals two nominal hours in combination of face-to-face or distance/hybrid instruction with a minimum of one nominal hour of out of class student work (homework and application) each week for approximately 16 weeks for one semester for a total of 48 Clock Hours.
Laboratory Laboratory, Studio, Capstone One credit equals three nominal hours of laboratory/studio work (1:48) with little or no out of class student work each week for approximately 16 weeks for one semester or 48 Clock Hours OR one credit equals two nominal hours of laboratory/studio work (1:32) with a minimum of one nominal hour of out of class student work each week for approximately 16 weeks for one semester for a total of 48 Clock Hours.
Experiential Practicum, Internship, Clinical, Directed Study, Travel Study One credit shall be awarded for a minimum of 48 Clock Hours in combination of experiential learning, instruction and out of class student work as indicated on the course syllabus.
Combination Lecture/Lab, Lecture/Studio, Lecture/Practicum, Etc. Consistent with Dunwoody’s Instructional Delivery Model, a combination of the categories may be used. In some cases, laboratory or studio may replace homework time, allowing in class time for application and competency demonstration

Faculty members have the ability to select their own learning activities, assignments, and assessments, and determine the appropriate time per individual activity. The table below represents a general guideline for various learning activities, but the average time per activity can be adjusted to reflect the true time spent performing the activity created by a faculty member. For instance, a shorter quiz may only require 10 minutes, and a longer one may need 30 minutes. Faculty should use their best judgement when assigning a timeframe for the chosen activity.

Average time per activity should be listed for the student (i.e. on the course syllabus or on Canvas). If a time is not listed, the table below will help calculate estimated clock hours for a course:

Activity Average Time Per Activity
Quiz 20 minutes each
Exam 50 minutes each
Midterm or Final 60 minutes each
Informal Writing Assignment 15 minutes per page (250 words)
Formal Writing Assignment 30 minutes per page (250 words)
Textbook Reading 8 minutes per page (250 words)
Reading of Linked Article/Paper 10 minutes per page (250 words)
Listen to or Watch Lined Audio/Video 15 minutes each
Listen to or Watch Webinar 50 minutes each
Complete a Guided Lab Expercise 50 minutes each
Complete a Virtual Field Observation 60 minutes each
Complete a Guided Field Observation 60 minutes each
Complete a Game/Simulation 30 minutes each
Complete a Tutorial/Module 30 minutes each
Watch/Make Synchronous Presentations 30 minutes each
Make a Blog Entry 10 minutes each
Participate in a Chat Room or Forum Discussion 30 minutes each
Study or Assignment Group Presentation 40 minutes each
Online Meeting or Office Hours with Instructor 20 minutes each

*chart quoted from Dickinson State University, 2016 HLC Conference

Definition of Course Type


A lecture is formal instruction, conducted on or off campus by the instructor, applying any combination of instructional methods. This definition is applicable only when the course organization requires that the instructor bear the primary responsibility for the instructional activity and is directly involved with all students in the class. Students are expected to work on out-of-class assignments on a regular basis over the length of the course.


A laboratory is an educational experience where students conduct experiments, develop skills, or practice procedures under the supervision of a faculty member.


A studio is an educational environment where students work on individual or group projects under the guidance of a faculty member. Projects may vary in scope, content and length.


A seminar provides a flexible and active learning forum for students to engage in lectures, discussions, or projects focused on a specific topic(s) in a content area.


A practicum is an educational experience replicating what a student would do on-the-job; applying previous or concurrent knowledge guided by an instructor where the student demonstrates content proficiency of a specific area within a program of study.


A capstone is a major project related to a student’s area of study that demonstrates a student’s content knowledge of the program outcomes.


An internship is a supervised educational work experience, located on or off campus at a work site where a faculty member monitors and provides final assessment.


A clinical applies only to Health Sciences & Technology programs. This type of credit is awarded to a student assigned to a clinical experience off-campus in which the student is under constant supervision by a clinical instructor. The clinical experience will typically be in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, clinic or nursing home. The clinical instructor may be a practicing clinician in the field of study or faculty member of the College. Students should receive individual instruction and critique in their performance. The faculty member coordinating the clinical experience provides the final grade for each student based in part on input from the clinical instructor.


A directed study is a course in which the student must meet a specific set of objectives agreed upon by the instructor and the student. The course requires one-on-one instructional conferences.


Travel study is an educational experience that combines travel and cultural study as a main competency within the student’s program of study.