Credit Hour Policy

ACADEMIC CREDITS

The unit of academic credit awarded by the university is called a “credit hour.” Hawai‘i Pacific University complies with federal regulations regarding the definition and assignment of credit hours.

Standard Face-to-Face Courses

One credit hour constitutes a minimum of three class work hours where a “class work hour” is defined as 50 minutes. Typically, class work hours include one hour of direct faculty instruction (“seat time”) and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class work by the student per week of the 16-week term for a one-credit-hour course. Out-of-class work includes time spent preparing for class, studying, doing homework, conducting research, completing assignments, etc. A standard 3-credit class thus meets for at least 37.5 contact hours (“seat time”) per term, and students should complete a minimum of 75 hours out-of-class work.

Online Courses

The expectation for online courses is that students will spend the same amount of time working to achieve the learning outcomes of a course as they would in the same course offered in a face-to-face modality. Thus, if a standard face-to-face class requires a total of 112 work hours (37.5 of “seat time” and 75 of “out-of-class work”), to accomplish the learning outcomes, the online equivalent similarly necessitates 112 total work hours over the 16-week term by the student.

Independent or Directed Study

Courses where students are working on independent projects, such as in thesis/dissertation and independent or directed studies, will conform to a minimum of three hours of student work per credit hour per week throughout the course of the term or the equivalent work distributed over a different period of time.

Internships

Paid and nonpaid internships require a minimum of 40 hours of work experience per credit. Internships are typically offered at 1 credit (40 hours), 2 credits (80 hours), or 3 credits (120 hours) under supervised conditions. Individual programs may adhere to different credit hour definitions consistent with commonly accepted practices in higher education for those programs. Please consult individual programs for specific requirements and additional information.

Laboratory Classes

Studio/Laboratory Courses: Studio/laboratory courses allow students to practice their skills in a guided environment. These are consistent with studio/laboratory experiences. Required student activities and assessments are largely limited to in-class time. Students practice their skills individually or in groups. There are few or no assessments outside of class. The faculty member is in the laboratory area 100% of the time. The course meets a minimum of 3 hours/week over the course of a term for each credit earned by the student. Teaching load credit for a studio/laboratory course is 1.5–2 contact hours, at the discretion of the dean.


Student credits:

1 credit hour

Faculty/instructor load:

1.5–2 contact hours

Minimum class time:

37.5 hours/term (typically 3 hours/week)


Intensive Laboratory Courses: Intensive laboratory courses provide students with firsthand experience in applying course concepts beyond that of a studio/laboratory course. In addition, students have the opportunity to learn and explore methods used by practitioners in that discipline. Such laboratory courses often include significant preparation for both students and instructors, coordination by the instructor of field-based activities and operation in uncertain field conditions, presentation by instructor of supplemental theory that supports integrating skills with theory, and student experiences with the advanced technology used in the discipline.

Student activities and assessments involve out-of-class reflection, applicable writing/literature research, processing and interpretation of data, and/or documentation of work specific to the field. As such, leading an intensive laboratory session has particular challenges and opportunities that differ from those in a studio/laboratory course and in the standard classroom environment. The faculty member is in the laboratory area 100% of the time. Teaching load credit for a 1-2 credit hour intensive laboratory course is 3 contact hours.


Student credits:

1-2 credit hours

Faculty/instructor load:

3 contact hours

Minimum class time:

37.5 hours/term (typically 3 hours/week)


Note: For 2-credit courses, total student effort is a minimum of 75 hours/term; of the 75 hours per term, in-class time typically accounts for 60hours/term, with the remaining 15 hours in out-of-class work.

Terms Shorter Than Sixteen Weeks

A course offered in a term of less than 16 weeks shall contain the same contact hours, preparation time, content, and requirements as the same course offered over a 16-week term.