UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Academic Credit Hour

I. Introduction

All graduate and undergraduate courses are described in terms of academic credit hours. UNC Charlotte adheres to a commonly accepted definition of the academic credit hour which all academic units are expected to follow.

II. Policy Statement

CREDIT/SEMESTER HOURS
A credit/semester hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement.  UNC Charlotte adheres to the Carnegie unit, which is a nationally recognized equivalency that consists of not less than:

  1. 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 1500 minutes of out of class student work for one semester hour of credit. Each credit hour corresponds to 50 minutes per week of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 100 minutes of out of class work per week for a 15 week 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 or instructional modes of delivery as established by the institution including distance education, hybrid, and face-to-face instruction, laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. 

The University Registrar prepares and recommends the annual Academic Calendar for approval by the Chancellor no less than 18 months in advance of the planned academic year. Departments are responsible for scheduling courses that meet the Carnegie unit standard, and monitoring compliance with this standard through their annual process of peer evaluation of teaching.

III. Definitions

  • Credit hour – 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. 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 1500 minutes of out-of-class student work for one semester hour of credit; 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.
  • Semester or Term – A period of study of approximately 15 weeks, usually half of the academic year (i.e., fall and spring semesters).  The fall semester begins in August and the spring semester begins in January at UNC Charlotte.  There are summer terms as well:  one ten-week and two five-week terms. 

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Approved: July 10, 1980
  • Revised: March 26, 2015  [split off Baccalaureate Degree Progression and Tuition Surcharge into its own policy; updated Credit Hour definition]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which students are covered under this policy? 
    This policy applies to all graduate and undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte.