Credit Hour

Defining a Credit Hour

The University of Massachusetts Lowell adheres to the Federal regulation which defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence 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.

Application of Credit Hour Policy

The University oversees the academic elements of all courses for which it awards institutional credit or credentials; this policy applies to all credit-bearing courses in graduate and undergraduate programs, regardless of the course delivery method or format. This includes the maintenance of standards for the awarding of credit hours.

The Undergraduate Policy Committee (UPC) and the Graduate Policy and Affairs Committee (GPAC) of the Faculty Senate are charged with ensuring adherence to the policy on credit hours and other academic policies through the review and approval of all undergraduate and graduate courses. Academic departments proposing a new course or significant changes to an existing course submit to the UPC or GPAC a Request to Add/Change a Course in the Undergraduate or Graduate Course Catalog form, along with a detailed syllabus. The UPC or GPAC evaluate these materials for appropriate workload, assignments, and evaluations in accordance with the University’s posted Credit Hour Policy, which follows established federal guidelines.

The expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all delivery formats of a course, as well as courses designed with less structured classroom schedules, such as independent studies, internships, practica, studios, or any other academic work leading to the award of academic credit. All courses must state clear learning objectives, expected outcomes, and workload expectations that meet the standards of the Credit Hour Policy.

Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy, and that the work is appropriate to the field of study and that the amount of credit awarded reflects the level and amount of student learning.

No grades or credit hours are given for audited courses.