Assignment of Credit Hours

Contact Information

Registrar

Phone: 315.684.6066
Fax: 315.684.6421
Email: registrar@morrisville.edu

All courses taken for credit at SUNY Morrisville which are applied toward completion of degree and certificate completion requirements conform to applicable state and federal regulations concerning the assignment of credit hours. The following provides information concerning credit hour assignment policies.

I. Credit Hour Definition

New York State:

All credit-bearing degree and certificate programs at SUNY Morrisville are approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Calculation of credit hours for these programs follows NYSED guidelines, which are consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour.

Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, Title 8 – Education Department, Chapter II – Regulations of the Commissioner, Subchapter A – Higher and Professional Regulations, Part 50 – General, Section 50.1 (o) stipulates the following: “Semester hour means a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments, except as otherwise provided pursuant to section 52.2(c)(4) of this Subchapter. This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.”

Section 52.2(c)(4) stipulates: “A semester hour of credit may be granted by an institution for fewer hours of instruction and study than those specified in subdivision (o) of section 50.1 of this Subchapter only: (i) when approved by the commissioner as part of a registered curriculum; (ii) when the commissioner has granted prior approval for the institution to maintain a statement of academic standards that defines the considerations which establish equivalency of instruction and study and such statement has been adopted by the institution; or (iii) in the event of a temporary closure of an institution by the State or local government as a result of a disaster, as defined in section 50.1(w) of this Title, when the commissioner has granted approval for the institution to maintain a statement of academic standards that defines the considerations which establish equivalency of instruction and study and such statement has been adopted by the institution.”

U.S. Department of Education:

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34: Education, Part 600 – Institutional Eligibility under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Subpart A – General, Section 600.2 stipulates the following:

“Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), 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 - (1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter 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, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”

U.S. Department of Education guidance on Program Integrity regulations related to the credit hour also stipulate:

"The credit-hour definition does not dictate particular amounts of classroom time versus out-of class student work. Further note that the definition provides that a credit hour may be for an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. There is no requirement that a 3semester hour course meet 3 hours per week during a semester or a 3-quarter-hour course meet 3 hours per week during a quarter. The requirement is that the institution determine that there is an amount of student work for a credit hour that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of class and two hours of out-of-class student work per week over a semester for a semester hour or a quarter for a quarter hour. For example, an institution with a semester-based calendar has a graduate seminar for which it awards 3 semester hours. The class meets only one hour per week over a 15-week semester with the students expected to perform a substantial amount of outside research that is the equivalent of 8 or more hours of student work each week of the semester. For purposes of the Federal definition, the institution would be able to award up to 3 semester hours for the course.”

II. Credit Hour Assignment Policies

All semester / credit hours awarded by SUNY Morrisville will conform to the definitions listed above. Therefore, all units of credit awarded will conform to the federal and state definitions. These guidelines are also in compliance with policies set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

SUNY Morrisville generally follows a semester system with fall and spring semesters consisting of a minimum of 15 weeks, which includes one week for exams. Summer terms are typically less than 15 weeks but adhere to the policy in terms of meeting time and the amount of work required. Terms for certain academic programs (for example, compressed schedules) have been adjusted but nonetheless adhere to the policy in terms of the amount of work required. The faculty and program administrators are responsible for developing, maintaining and evaluating the curriculum within an academic program, although the Board of Trustees or their representative retain final control and approval of the curriculum. Assignment of credit hours for courses is determined within the program based on faculty expertise and course learning objectives. Existing courses will be evaluated for adherence to the federal credit hour regulation using an annual audit. New courses will, upon review and approval at the program level, be reviewed by the Academic Council and then the Academic Affairs Committee, and recommended for approval or denial.

The Academic Council and the Academic Affairs Committee is charged with following the policy on credit hours in their review and approval of all courses and curricula and for certifying that the expected student learning for the course meets the credit hour standard. Approved courses are sent to the Registrar’s Office for inclusion in the College Catalog. The Registrar’s Office reviews the class schedules prior to the start of each semester to ensure that all classes are scheduled for the minimum number of minutes corresponding to the credits assigned, or otherwise notes when course schedules do not match assigned credit hours. Any discrepancies are brought to the attention of the appropriate department for correction or explanation. The following provides general guidance on the how the credit hour translates to the particular instruction method. Note, however, that the credit-hour definition does not dictate particular amounts of classroom time versus out-of-class student work – the information below serves as general guidance only.

Lecture and Seminar

Courses with multiple students which meet to engage in various forms of group instruction under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The minimum contact time (that is, direct instructor-led time) per credit per week is typically one (50 minute) hour for each credit (1:1 ratio of contact time to credits, per week). In addition, students are assigned two (50 minute) hours of outside work for each credit, per week. Examples of the minimal amounts for each activity on a per credit basis are displayed in the table below, using a traditional 15-week semester as the base:

Lectures and Seminars: Classroom / Faculty Instruction and Outside Student Work

Credits awarded Minimum contact time per week Minimum instructional time Total for 15 Weeks (Contact time X Weeks) Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work Total for 15 Weeks (Outside Work X Weeks) Total of instructional contact time and out of class student work
1 50 contact minutes 750 contact minutes 100 minutes 1500 minutes 2250 minutes (37.5 hours)
2 100 contact minutes 1500 contact minutes 200 minutes 3000 minutes 4500 minutes (75.0 hours)
3 150 contact minutes 2250 contact minutes 300 minutes 4500 minutes 6750 minutes (112.5 hours)
4 200 contact minutes 3000 contact minutes 400 minutes 6000 minutes 9000 minutes (150 hours)

Laboratory

Courses with a focus on experiential learning under the direct supervision of a faculty member wherein the student performs substantive work in a laboratory setting. The minimum instructor contact time per credit is typically twice that of a lecture (2:1 ratio of contact time to credits, per week)

Laboratory: Classroom / Faculty Instruction and Outside Student Work

Credits awarded Minimum contact time per week Minimum instructional time Total for 15 Weeks (Contact time X Weeks) Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work Total for 15 Weeks (Outside Work X Weeks) Total of instructional contact time and out of class student work
1 100 contact minutes 1500 contact minutes 50 minutes 750 minutes 2250 minutes (37.5 hours)
2 200 contact minutes 3000 contact minutes 100 minutes 1500 minutes 4500 minutes (75.0 hours)
3 300 contact minutes 4500 contact minutes 150 minutes 2250 minutes 6750 minutes (112.5 hours)
4 400 contact minutes 6000 contact minutes 200 minutes 3000 minutes 9000 minutes (150 hours)

Clinicals

Courses with a focus on experiential learning under the direct supervision of a faculty member wherein the student performs substantive work in a clinical setting. The minimum contact time per credit is typically three times that of a lecture (3:1 ratio of contact hours to credits), depending upon the amount of outside work assigned.

Clinicals: Classroom / Faculty Instruction and Outside Student Work

Credits awarded Minimum contact time per week Minimum instructional time Total for 15 Weeks (Contact time X Weeks) Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work Total for 15 Weeks (Outside Work X Weeks) Total of instructional contact time and out of class student work
1 150 contact minutes 2250 contact minutes 0 minutes 0 minutes 2250 minutes (37.5 hours)
2 300 contact minutes 4500 contact minutes 0 minutes 0 minutes 4500 minutes (75.0 hours)
3 450 contact minutes 6750 contact minutes 0 minutes 0 minutes 6750 minutes (112.5 hours)
4 600 contact minutes 9000 contact minutes 0 minutes 0 minutes 9000 minutes (150 hours)

Directed Study 

Courses of study designed in instances where enrollment has fallen below established standards but under conditions where a student or students require that course be offered in order to progress academically (such as the need for a particular course in order to graduate). In such instances, the faculty member will work with the student(s) to arrange meeting times which may or may not match the normal course schedule. In all such instances, such courses must match the minimum instructional time and minimum out of class student work per week using the examples listed above, and the faculty member is required to keep records of the meeting times and length so that contact hours can be calculated.

Independent Study

Courses of study in which a faculty member regularly interacts and directs student outcomes with periodic contact. Minimum credit hours are determined based on faculty instructional contact minutes and student outside work time. In all such instances, such courses must match the total amount of work using the examples listed above, and the faculty member is required to keep records of the meeting times and student work assigned so that contact hours can be calculated.

Internship/Practica/Field Experience

Courses of study in which a faculty member regularly interacts and directs student outcomes with periodic contact, but where the actual learning environment takes place off-campus at an approved site. The learning experience will typically involve a site supervisor or preceptor and directed activity/learning will occur outside of a lecture setting. Contact time and outside student work requirements must be established and documented, and must match the total amount of work as listed in the examples outlined above for lecture, laboratory, and clinicals. The faculty member or program director responsible for the experience is required to keep records of amount of supervised work and the amount of outside work assigned so that contact hours can be calculated.

Accelerated Courses

Courses offered outside of a standard 15 week semester in which the credit hours offered are the same as standard semester courses and the content and substantive learning outcomes are the same as those in the standard semester. These courses must meet the total amount of instructional and student work time as the examples above even if delivered within an accelerated time frame.

Online Courses

Courses offered entirely online without any on-site face-to-face meetings. These courses have the same learning outcomes and substantive components of a standard lecture / seminar course with an alternate delivery method. Contact time is satisfied by several means which can include, but is not limited to, the following: a.) regular instruction or interaction with a faculty member once a week for each week the course runs. b.) Academic engagement through interactive tutorials, group discussions moderated by faculty, virtual study/project groups, engaging with class peers and computer tutorials graded and reviewed by faculty. In all such instances, these courses must meet the total amount of instructional and student work time as the examples above even if delivered online or asynchronously.

Hybrid Courses

Courses offered in a blended format with one or more on-site face-to-face class sessions and at least one or more online sessions, both containing direct interaction with a faculty member. Contact time is assessed using both on-site definitions (for the on-site portion) and online definitions as above (for the online portion). In all such instances, these courses must meet the total amount of instructional and student work time as the examples above even if delivered online or asynchronously.

Form 1. SUNY Morrisville Assignment of Credit Hours. Adapted from Trocaire College Assignment of Credit Hours, In Trocaire College, 2016, from https://trocaire.edu/app/uploads/2016/10/Credit-Hour-Policy-2016.pdf. Reprinted with permission.