A credit hour shall be the unit of University academic credit representing approximately three hours of work per week by a student throughout a 15 week (fall, spring) semester (exclusive of final examination period) or its equivalent in total work for short courses. Specifically, and consistent with Department of Education Program Integrity rules published October 29, 2010, Illinois State University defines a 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
(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.”
For traditional lecture, recitation, seminar, topics, and temporary courses, a 1 credit hour class meets 50 minutes per week over the course of the semester.
Laboratory classes, including rehearsals and musicianship classes, typically meet 100 minutes or more per week for 1 credit hour.
Clinical experiences are defined as “a part of the program that allows for observation, participation, studies of individual pupils or clients, individual field work, and practicums both on and off campus.” Required pre-service clinical hours (clock hours) in teacher education programs are generally associated with specific courses and do not receive academic credit independent of course credit. Credit for clinical experiences in other programs is determined in accordance with recommendations of their specific accrediting bodies or applicable state regulation.
Professional practice is defined as “one or more credit-generating, academic/career related, salaried or non-salaried work experiences. Professional Practice work sites are located on the Illinois State University campus and with business, industry, government and other agencies and organizations outside the University campus. Professional Practice courses are designated by the numbers 198, 298, 398, 498, and 598.” No more than 16 credit hours of professional practice may count toward an undergraduate degree. Use of credit hours from the course group 393, 397, 400, 493, 498 toward a graduate degree is limited to no more than 9 hours total. At least one full-time five-day week of professional practice or the equivalent over a longer period of time will be required for one credit hour. Depending on specific curriculum, programs may require more than one week in order to award one credit hour.
Student Teaching: At least one full-time five day week of student teaching experience will be required for one credit hour. Depending on specific curriculum, programs may require more than one week in order to award one credit hour.
Short term courses: Half-semester courses, summer session courses, and other courses offered over a different period of time will require the same amount of classroom and out of class work per credit hour as required of semester-long courses with that work distributed over the shorter period of time.
Workshops and Contract Courses: Credit bearing courses offered for special populations by special arrangement will meet regular academic credit hour standards.
Thesis/Dissertation and Independent Study will represent a minimum of three hours of student work per week throughout the course of the semester or the equivalent work distributed over a different period of time. Deferred credit (DE) is always given in research and performance courses leading to a thesis, dissertation or exhibition. Credit will be allowed when the student satisfactorily completes all requirements for the program.
Distance Education, Internet and Hybrid (Blended) Courses: Credit hour policy is consistent with the standards of courses offered through face to face instruction, although some or all of content and faculty-student interaction occurs through one or more forms of distance education.
All definitions and standards apply equally to courses offered both on and off campus.
Initiating body: Office of the Provost
Contact: Associate Provost (309-438-2187)