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Credit Hour Guidelines

All St. John’s University degree and certificate programs are approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The University’s method for awarding credit for courses in degree and certificate programs follow NYSED guidelines, which are based on the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of credit hour.

Below are the state and federal credit hour definitions and the URL to their source documents.

NYSED – Credit Hour Definition

All courses and degree programs at the University must comply with Section 50.1 (o) of the New York State Commissioner of Education Regulations:

  • 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.


U.S. Department of Education – Credit Hour Definition

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:

  • 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 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 credit hours.


Procedures for Implementation

  • Each School Dean is responsible for assuring that his or her School establishes, maintains, and follows appropriate procedures and protocols for assigning credit hours. The procedures and protocols must meet these minimum guidelines:
  • Each School must maintain procedures, written and web-accessible, pertaining to the assignment of credit hours for all courses offered, regardless of the format or modality of instruction. This includes but is not limited to traditional lectures, individual voice or music instruction, online courses, and any other offering that can result in earned credit.
  • Each School must document that its procedures provide for the assignment of credit hours for each course the School offers based on the following criteria:
    • Stated objectives for student learning, including (but not limited to) acquisition of content knowledge, key competencies, (such as skill in oral or written communication), or analytic reasoning skills;
    • Hours of instruction proposed for the course; and
    • Hours of supplementary assignments and student effort that are anticipated to take place outside the classroom. Hours of anticipated student effort outside the classroom can include estimated time spent on reading, writing, laboratory or studio assignments, preparation for examinations, etc.