Credit Hour Policy
Georgia Southern University’s Credit Hour Policy follows the Federal Definition and the policies in effect at our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) as well as at the University System of Georgia (USG).
The Federal Definition
“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 –
- One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 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 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 credits.
SACSCOC Credit Hour Policy
As part of its review of an institution seeking continuing accreditation, SACSCOC conducts reviews of an institution’s assignment of credit hours. Academic credit has provided the basis for measuring the amount of engaged learning time expected of a typical student enrolled not only in traditional classroom settings but also laboratories, studios, internships, and other experiential learning and distance and correspondence education. Students, institutions, employers, and others rely on the common currency of academic credit to support a wide range of activities, including the transfer of students from one institution to another. For several decades, the federal government has relied on credits as a measure of student academic engagement as a basis of awarding financial aid. The University System of Georgia’s definition of credit hours states, “The academic year shall consist of two (2) regular semesters, each not to be less than fifteen (15) calendar weeks in length excluding registration….A minimum of 750 minutes of instruction or equivalent is required for each semester credit hour.” (USG Policy Manual Section 3.4)
Georgia Southern University Credit Hour Policy
The Georgia Southern University Credit Hour Policy applies to all courses at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) that award academic credit on an official transcript regardless of the mode of delivery including, but not limited to, fully online, hybrid, lecture, seminar, laboratory, studio, directed study, or study abroad. The academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy.
Traditional lecture-based courses that meet only in a face-to-face format must meet for 750 minutes for each semester credit hour, whether offered in a full-semester, half-semester, or 5-week format. When courses are offered in hybrid or fully online format, 750 engaged minutes are still required and expected for each hour of credit and course content and learning outcomes should be equivalent to those established in face-to-face sections of the same course.
Georgia Southern University will require 1500 engaged minutes for each semester credit hour. In the case of laboratory, studio, or clinical courses, most of these engaged minutes will be spent in the actual execution of the laboratory, studio, or clinical exercises. When the laboratory, studio, or clinical is offered in an online format, 1500 engaged minutes are still required for each hour of credit and course content and learning outcomes should be equivalent to those established in face-to-face sections of the same course.
Additionally, there is an expectation that students spend a minimum of two hours on course work outside of class for every hour spent in class. Out-of-course-work might include, but not be limited to, such assignments as course related readings, research activity, project development, written theme or research papers, preparation for examinations, participation in discussion boards or focused chat rooms.