Credit Hour Policy

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A semester credit hour is defined as the quantity of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates the amount of work required by one hour (minimum 50 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction per credit and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work each week per credit for approximately sixteen weeks or one semester, or an equivalent quantity of work over a term of different length (intensive, accelerated, online courses, etc.).

Vanguard defines a credit hour as approximately 37.5-45 hours of engaged learning time over the course of a term. Therefore, the typical 3-unit course will have the equivalent of 112.5-135 clock hours of engaged time over the course of the term.

Semester credit hours may be achieved by those academic activities established by the University, including engaged learning time in face-to-face meetings, in a prescribed lab or internship/practicum setting, in synchronous or asynchronous online learning activities, or in independent reading, research, or writing activities. With regard to clinical or laboratory hours, the appropriateness of a clinical hour may be based on each program’s unique requirements or accreditation agency criteria, within the context of program and institutional learning outcomes.

This institutional policy is in accordance with the WASC Credit Hour Policy, which relies on the Department of Education’s definition and the assignment of credit hours.

Under federal regulations, all candidate and accredited institutions are responsible to comply with the definition of the credit hour as provided in Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 600.2 and 34 CFR 602.24.