4.08 / Definition and Assignment of Credit Hours
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.
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.
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
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- In the process of developing a new course, faculty will propose the
appropriate assignment of credit hours to a course on the Curriculum
- The proposed assignment of credit hours must be submitted to the
following administrators and committees, in sequential order, for review
- Department Chair;
- College Curriculum Committee;
- Dean of the College; and
- Academic Affairs Committee (for undergraduate courses) or Graduate
Council (for graduate courses)
- 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.
- 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.
- Courses and/or academic work must be scheduled in a way that conforms
to the above definition of credit hour.
- 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.
1 A class hour at Wichita State University is typically 50
This policy shall be included in the WSU Policies and
Procedures Manual and shared with appropriate constituencies of the
The Office of Academic Affairs shall have primary responsibility for
publication, dissemination and implementation of this University policy.
October 15, 2012