Review & Update of OSU Credit Hour Policy

Curriculum Council, June 7, 2013

New federal regulations call attention to institutional policies and oversight procedures for conferral of academic credit. In response, new credit hour policies were adopted and published by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) in November 2012. These policies were a focus of the Year Three (Resources & Capacity) Evaluation in Spring 2014.

OSU’s longstanding credit hour policy is referred to in the OSU document structure.

  1. OSU General Catalog: Academic Glossary/Catalog Definitions https://catalog.oregonstate.edu/general-information/academic-glossary-catalog-definitions/
  2. APAA (Academic Programs, Assessment & Accreditation) Website–Curricular Policies & Procedures http://oregonstate.edu/admin/aa/apaa/academic-programs/curriculum/curricular-policies-and-procedures#79

On June 7, 2013, the Curriculum Council reviewed the policy and voted to incorporate a limited set of language updates. The Council clarified that the formal policy is that which appears in the OSU General Catalog under Catalog Definitions. Supporting explanations for faculty and implementation appear in the Curricular Policies & Procedures of the APAA website. The revised Catalog and APAA entries, as approved by the Council are as follows:

1. OSU General Catalog: Academic Glossary/Catalog Definitions

https://catalog.oregonstate.edu/general-information/academic-glossary-catalog-definitions/

Credit: Credits vary, depending upon the type of course and level at which it is offered. One credit is generally given for three hours per week of work in and out of class. For example, each hour of class lecture is generally expected to require two hours of work out of class. One credit would be given for a lecture course that met for one 50-minute period each week over a 10-week period; i.e., 10 contact hours between faculty and students. One credit is typically given for a laboratory course that meets for two to three hours per week for an entire term. Equivalent credits are given for recitations, discussions, and other types of courses. All credits given in the General Catalog refer to quarter credits. When transferring in course work from a semester system institution, multiply the number of credits by 1.5 to determine how many quarter credits will be transferred (3 semester hours x 1.5 = 4.5 quarter credits). If planning to transfer OSU credits out to a semester system institution, multiply the number of quarter credits by .67 to determine how many credits will transfer (4 quarter credits x .67 = 2.68 semester credits).

2. APAA Website: Policies and Procedures

http://apa.oregonstate.edu/academic-programs/academic-policies-and-procedures

Credits - Definition and Guidelines

The OSU Catalog states that “One credit is generally given for three hours per week of work in and out of class. For example, each hour of class lecture is generally expected to require two hours of work out of class.” Thus, one quarter credit represents 30 hours of work.

The following guidelines come from C.J. Quann’s “A Handbook of Policies and Procedures”:

“Academic credit is a measure of the total time commitment required of a typical student in a particular course of study. Total time consists of three components:
(1) time spent in class;
(2) time spent in laboratory, studio, fieldwork, or other scheduled activity;
(3) time devoted to reading, studying, problem solving, writing, or preparation.

One quarter credit is assigned in the following ratio of component hours per week devoted to the course of study: (1) lecture {and seminar} courses—one contact hour for each credit (two hours of outside work implied); (2) laboratory, recitation, or studio courses--at least two contact hours for each credit (one hour of outside preparation implied); (3) independent study—at least three hours of work per week for each credit."

Thus, one credit would be assigned for a lecture or seminar course that met for one 50-minute period each week over a 10-week period; e.g., 10 contact hours between faculty and students.

In addition to Laboratory and Studio, OSU recognizes Recitation as two contact hours for each credit.

While there may be natural diversity among academic units in administering these standards, they should be carefully considered when assigning credits to new (or existing) courses. For example, one- or two-day workshops, field trips, etc., will not qualify for academic credit unless there are extensive pre- or post-workshop trips or assignments to provide the required 30 hours of work per credit. Also, the extensive outside work required of some laboratory or studio classes should be taken into account in assigning credits.

 

Approval & Revisions: Curriculum Council 3/13/95, 6/7/2013