Definition of and Guidelines for Credit Hour Policy and Spalding University

Spalding University, a SACSCOC accredited institution, recognizes the "Carnegie Unit" as the measure of a traditional semester credit hour and as the primary measure of degree attainment that may be awarded on the basis of a combination of both formal and informal activities and learning experiences. The Spalding University definition of credit hour follows the definition of credit hour established the United States Department of Education and is consistent with the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on College (SACSCOC) guidelines.

For undergraduate programs: A semester credit hour is generally earned for two hours and 13 minutes (133 minutes) of direct faculty instruction each week for six weeks or the equivalent amount of instruction over a different amount of time. For example, an undergraduate psychology class for which a student earns three credit hours meets four days per week for one hour and 40 minutes each day for a six-week period.

For accelerated [undergraduate or graduate] programs: A semester credit hour is usually earned for one hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes) of formal instruction augmented by additional informal instruction.  For example, an accelerated psychology class for which a student earns three credit hours meets one day per week for four hours over a six-week period and provides a minimum of 2 hours and 40 minutes of additional instruction each week delivered online or via other modalities such as laboratory work, practicums, and studio work over the same six-week period.

For graduate programs: A semester credit hour is normally earned for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks. For example, a graduate psychology class for which a student earns three credit hours meets once per week for two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) for a 15-week period.

Semester credit hours are earned for various types of instruction.

Each of these basic measures for undergraduate, accelerated and graduate programming may be adjusted to reflect modified academic calendars, delivery modalities, and formats of study.

Credit hourTotal time of instructionInstruction time per week in a 6-week sessionInstruction time per week in a 15-week semester
115 hours2 hours, 13 minutes1 hour
230 hours4 hours, 26 minutes2 hours
345 hours6 hours, 40 minutes3 hours

All Spalding University courses deliver equivalent learning experiences regardless of learning modality including face-to-face, online, hybrid or Web-augmented. The following factors would be fair indicators of equivalency.

  • Identical learning outcomes for the same course in varying formats should be stated identically. The statement should be sufficiently abstract that multiple and varied learning activities and assessments would serve to demonstrate accomplishment of the outcomes.
  • Equal numbers of instructional hours across formats for a course, activities delivered in-class and online outside the physical classroom.
  • Additional indicators of equivalency will be at the discretion of the Program head (Chair or Director).

Examples of academic activities that may be incorporated into the learning experience are provided here.

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