Credit Hour Policy

The U.S. Department of Education defines “credit hour “as: “…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:
1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter credit hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or,
2. 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, internship, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours” 

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (22 Pa. Code, Section 31.21(b)) states: “…a semester credit hour represents a unit of curricular material that normally can be taught in a minimum of 14 hours of classroom instruction, plus appropriate outside preparation or the equivalent as determined by faculty.”

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Verification of Compliance with Accreditation-Relevant Federal Regulations, 2017) states: “…In accordance with the Commission policy, Credit Hour, and 34 CFR 602.24(f), the Commission ‘must conduct an effective review and evaluation of the reliability and accuracy of the institution’s assignment of credit hours.’ Specifically, the Commission must review the institution’s policies and procedures for determining the credit hours awarded as well as the institution’s policies and procedures to its programs and coursework, and make a ‘reasonable determination of whether the institution’s assignment of credit hours conforms to commonly accepted practice in higher education”

Code of Federal Regulations (668.8 (k)(2)(l)(i)) states: “…for purposes of determining whether a program described in paragraph (k) (undergraduate programs in credit hours) of this section satisfies the requirements contained in paragraph (c)(3) or (d) of this section, and determining the number of credit hours in that educational program with regard to title IV, HEA programs: A semester hour must include at least 37.5 clock hours of instruction.” 

Allegheny College’s Credit Hour Policy: The College complies with federal, state, and accreditation (MSCHE) standards and regulations pertaining to the assignment of credit hours. In all courses, the College complies with the PDE regulation of 14 hours of classroom instruction per semester credit, and interprets the USDoE’s guidance of “…or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time…” to equal a total of 2,250 minutes of instruction per semester credit hour awarded; this also conforms to the CFR definition where, “A semester hour must include at least 37.5 clock hours of instruction.” The College typically follows a semester system. There are two semesters a year defined as: Fall and Spring; the college does not offer winter session or summer term.  Each term consists of 15 weeks, with a finals week, and a break between terms as stated in the College’s catalog and on the website. All courses must comply with the College’s Credit Hour Policy regardless of designation (internship, independent study, etc.).