Credit Hour Policy

This policy documents Stetson University’s compliance with regional and national accrediting guidelines. The university’s policy aligns with the SACSCOC (Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) requirement as well as federal regulations defining credit hours as established in Section 600.2, which defines a credit hour as:

  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.

Credit Hour at Stetson University (undergraduate)

Stetson University undergraduate courses are measured in units. Each unit is equivalent to four credits (or credit hours). Portions of units, such as ½ unit or ¼ unit, are similarly equivalent to two and one credits, respectively. Clock hour time associated with course units are as follows:

1 unit (4 credits) = no less than 180 clock hours of instruction and student work

½ unit (2 credits) = no less than 90 clock hours of instruction and student work

¼ unit (1 credit) = no less than 45 clock hours of instruction and student work

One possible application of the 180-clock hour requirement for a 1-unit class could be as follows:

  • 42 hours of classroom activities and/or labs (i.e. 3 clock hours per week for 14 weeks), and
  • 124 hours of coursework outside of the classroom (to include reading, research, and writing), and
  • 14 hours of academic activities associated with the class, such as those listed below:
    • Cultural credit event attendance - concerts, plays, poetry, film, etc.
    • Rehearsals
    • Tutoring, supervised supplemental instruction
    • Colloquia
    • Conference attendance
    • Service learning
    • Field work
    • Class experiments, labs
    • Group projects
    • Research presentations, Stetson Undergraduate Research Day
    • Field trips
    • Community work associated with the class
    • Organized student conversations - blogs, chat rooms
    • Individual meetings with the instructor

The 180 hours of instruction and student work listed in the example above may be divided differently given the pedagogy most appropriate for a course. Many classes (science courses with labs or music ensembles) have a higher balance of clock hours dedicated to instruction, while other courses (internships, music lessons, independent studies, senior projects and capstone courses) highly value independent work or time off-campus under the direction of a non-faculty supervisor.


New courses are reviewed for compliance with the Credit Hour Policy by the individual school and college curriculum committees, and again by the university policy committees (UCCAP: University Committee on Curriculum and Academic Planning; UGEC: University General Education Committee) prior to their approval. Review for established classes occurs through regular curriculum review in each school or college on a schedule established by the respective dean’s office.