Academic Credit

Definition of a Credit Hour

In accordance with federal guidelines, academic credit hours are determined by the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement.

The NDSU established equivalency for courses bearing academic credit reasonably approximates and is not less than:

  1. One hour (50 minutes) 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 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, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  • In the case of laboratories, a minimum of two 50-minute periods per week for one semester is equivalent to one credit.
  • One credit of field experience (courses numbered 196-496; 595-795) requires a minimum of 40 hours of experience/internship, up to 15 credits, with the number of credits to be determined in consultation with the student's academic adviser/department. Cooperative Education credits and limits are determined by the Career Center.
  • One credit of undergraduate research requires a minimum three hours per week for a standard semester.
  • Minimum contact hours are prorated accordingly for variable length courses.
  • In courses in which "seat time" does not apply, such as those offered online, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.

On average, students should expect to spend two hours of study or preparation for each hour spent in class. Preparation time varies for laboratories, variable-length and individual study classes.