Credit Hour Policy

Reference Number: S22-299
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Presidential Approval Date: 
Thursday, March 3, 2022

Policy #:                       S22-299

Supersedes:                  N/A 

Senate Approval:          02/15/2022 

Presidential Approval:    03/02/2022 

Effective:   Fall 2022

Last Review:                  N/A

Next Review:                 Fall 2026

 

Credit Hour Policy

Source Committee: Academic Policy Committee (APC)

Unit(s) Responsible for Implementation: Colleges, Academic Planning, Academic Resources: Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning

Consultations:

 

History

 

Version

Approved

Revisions(s)

1

03/02/2022

Original. Need to codify into policy guidance from the CSU, WASC, and the U.S. Department of Education.

 

 

 

 

Rationale

Change to the US Department of Education definition of the student credit hour on July 1, 2020, requires accrediting agencies to review an institution’s definition of a student credit hour and the processes and policies for ensuring the credit hour definition is applied. In response to this change, the WASC Senior College and University Commission updated their credit hour definition and accreditation review (see WASC Credit Hour Policy). The CSU instructed all campuses to develop, communicate and implement procedures to ensure accurate, reliable, and consistent application of the definition of the credit hour for all courses and programs (Memo dated December 21, 2020).

 

This document serves as the San Francisco State University policy on the credit hour. Definitions, calculations, and procedures are included.

 

Table of Contents

A.  Definitions and Calculations

B.  Compliance and Review Process Policy

 

All SFSU academic programs and courses, offered in any modality and at any level, are covered by this credit hour policy.

A.  Definitions and Calculations

1.  Credit Hour Definition: The SFSU definition of the credit hour aligns with the CSU (December 21, 2020 Memo), WSCUC (Credit Hour Policy), and federal law (600.2 and 600.4 revised July 1, 2020).

One credit hour is equal to not less than one hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks of one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. One credit hour is defined to be a 50-minute period.

At least an equivalent amount of work is required for other academic activities, including laboratory work, activities, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

2.  Direct faculty instruction is defined for in-person, synchronous online, and hybrid courses as the time spent in a classroom or laboratory or in a remotely scheduled meeting with the instructor. An equivalent amount of instructional time must be provided in asynchronous courses or for the asynchronous portion of a hybrid course to meet the total credit hour requirement for faculty instruction. Faculty engagement and student work in an asynchronous class should be equivalent to what students might expect in a traditional face-to-face course; faculty need to remain engaged and help facilitate student work in all online activities. In developing the course, faculty should seek guidance on equivalencies between credit hours of work in atraditional face-to-face course and an online course from the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL).

3.  Out-of-class student work is defined as time spent preparing for a course, completing assignments for a course, and preparing for exams or other assessments.

4.  The CSU Academic Planning Database defines the hours of direct faculty instruction for different course classifications:

 

Credit Hour Calculations for Different Academic Activities (on average, per unit per week, over the course of the semester)

 

Course type

Course classification

Direct faculty instruction per unit: not less than

Out-of-class student work per unit: at least, on average over the course of the semester

Large lecture (more than 50 students)

C1

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

Lecture discussion

C2

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

Lecture – composition, counseling, case study

C3

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

 

 

 

 

 

Lecture recitation

C4

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

Seminar

C5

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

Seminar/clinical demonstration

C6

50 minutes per unit per week

100 minutes per unit per week

Fine arts and science activities

C7

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Education workshop

C8

100 minutes per unit

per week

50 minutes per unit

per week

Music Activity – large group

C9

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Music Activity – small group

C10

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Physical education and recreation activity

C11

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Speech, drama and journalism activity

C12

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Technical activities and laboratories (involving the use of business and other machines)

C13

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Remedial course (Not used at SF State)

C14

100 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Technical activities and laboratories

C15

150 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Science laboratories

C16

150 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Clinical practice labs, off- campus

C17

150 minutes per unit per week

50 minutes per unit per week

Major intercollegiate sports activities

C18

150 minutes or more per unit per week

 

Minor intercollegiate sports activities

C19

150 minutes or more per unit per week

 

Performance/production

C20

150 minutes or more per unit per week

 

Performance/production (major performance groups)

C21

150 minutes or more per unit per week

 

 

Likewise, supervision courses must satisfy the credit hour requirement of 150 minutes of total academic work (faculty instruction plus out-of-class work) per unit per week for 15 weeks or an equivalent amount of work over a different period of time.

 

B.  Compliance and Review Process

 

1.  Courses are scheduled in accordance with the time per unit of direct faculty instruction according to the course classification. For multi-component courses, each component must be scheduled to reflect the direct faculty instruction time associated with the course classification of each component.

 

 

 

 

2.  Asynchronous courses, or courses with any asynchronous component, must show how the credit hour policy is met in the course syllabus (see Course Syllabus Policy S15-257).

 

3.  Courses scheduled with any hours TBA must define the number of hours (per week or per semester equivalent) in the course notes of the schedule and in the course syllabus. The number of hours TBA plus hours scheduled for the course must total at least the minimum instructional time associated with the course classification.

 

4.  Courses offered in a timeframe shorter than 15 weeks (winter session, summer sessions, or during regular sessions), or scheduled to meet on a day that campus is closed, must provide the equivalentrequired number of hours of direct faculty instruction as defined for the credit hour.

 

5.  Course syllabi must define for students the number of hours of direct instructional activities and out-of-class work expected for the course. Course syllabi must include information about TBA instruction and how instruction will take place for courses whose schedule is reduced by a holiday (see Course Syllabus Policy S15-257).

 

6.  Department chairs and school directors, and college associate deans are responsible for making sure courses are scheduled to reflect direct instructional hours in a manner that is consistent with the standard time block policy.

 

7.  Faculty will be informed about the minimum direct instructional hours required for different course classifications in the course proposal and revision process to aid in the course design process.

Signed Memo: