Course Credit Policy (Credit Hour Defined)

Arkansas Tech University's standards for establishing the institutional academic calendar and determining the amount of credit awarded for all courses are designed to meet or exceed U.S. Department of Education 1, Arkansas Department of Higher Education2 3, and Higher Learning Commission policy requirements4.

Definition of a Credit Hour

For all ATU Degree programs and courses bearing academic credit, the "credit hour" is defined as "the 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, practicums, studio work, clinical work and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours."

One hour of classroom instruction is no less than 50 minutes. In courses, such as those offered online, in which face-to-face seat-time does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.

The amount of credit awarded for a course is based on the amount of time in class, the amount of outside preparation required, and the intensity of the educational experience.

  • A formal lecture course with extensive assigned reading or other out-of-class preparation is awarded one semester credit for [a minimum of] 750 minutes or 12.5 hours of classroom instruction;
  • A laboratory class with moderate out-of-class preparation is awarded one semester credit for [a minimum of] 1500 minutes or 25 hours of laboratory instruction; and
  • Clinical, practicum, internship, shop instruction or other self-paced learning activities involving work-related experience with little or no out-of-class preparation is awarded one semester credit for [a minimum of] 2250 minutes or 37.5 hours of work-related instruction.

Courses delivered by traditional methods, non-traditional methods, a combination of methods, or a condensed time frame shall all have the same objectives, requirements, and quality of instruction. 

Note: The primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Credit Hour Policy is the faculty and academic Department Heads within each college under the supervision of the respective academic dean.