Federal definition, according to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34 Part 600: Institutional Eligibility under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended
Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is 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.
MICA Credit and Time Requirements
As a unified means of measuring comparative work, MICA has adopted a variant of the Carnegie Unit. One college semester credit is defined as 45 hours of work with at least one-third of those hours consisting of contact with an instructor in the classroom and in the case of introductory, intermediate and most advanced studio courses, one half to two thirds of those hours consisting of contact with an instructor. In order to ensure time for transfer, a contact hour is defined as one fifty minute hour.
MICA’s educational program is organized around two traditional (fall and spring) fifteen week semesters with additional coursework offered in winter and/or late spring intersessions and a summer session. The traditional semesters are designed to provide 15 class meeting days for each weekday thereby ensuring that every course meets its primary contact requirements regardless of breaks and holidays.
In all introductory, intermediate and most advanced studio courses, one credit hour represents at least one and a half hours of contact and more normally, two hours of contact time with an instructor each week with the addition of one to one and a half hours of additional work done outside of the course meeting time. Since most courses at MICA award three credits, the typical studio course will meet for six fifty-minute hours (five actual hours) with an expectation of an additional four hours of work done outside of course meeting time in each of a fifteen week semester. In traditional lecture and discussion courses, one credit hour represents at least one hour of contact and two hours of additional work done outside of the course meeting time. Since most courses at MICA award three credits, the typical academic course will meet for three fifty minute hours (two and a half actual hours) with an expectation of an additional six hours of additional work done outside of course meeting time in a fifteen week semester.
Courses based on different contact formats and/or time frames for delivery and/or a greater or lesser number of credits than 3 must be approved by the appropriate Vice Provost before scheduling and implementation. This includes all intersession, mini-mester and summer courses.
Consistency of Credit Hour Procedures and Policies
Unless otherwise proposed, 3 credit studio courses are assigned to meet 5 hours each week of a 15 week semester and 3 credit academic courses are assigned to meet 3 hours each week of a 15 week semester with the understanding that all 3 credit courses require 135 hours total in class and outside work. Courses based on different contact formats and/or time frames for delivery and/or a greater or lesser number of credits than 3 must demonstrate that the meet the College’s definition of a credit hour as an integral part of the approval process.
All new course offerings are assessed by the relevant department chair/s or graduate director, associate dean/s, and vice-provosts at the conclusion of initial implementation.
Lecture/ Seminar Courses:
Variations in Credit Hour Assignment
As noted, MICA offers intersession and summer terms of study that are not based on a 15 week calendar. Nonetheless, three-credit summer courses and summer travel programs all meet the ratio of hours of contact to hours of outside student work outlined in the formula. Courses offered for a shorter duration such as intersessions or minimesters must also meet the time requirement and contact guidelines stated above. For example a three credit studio course in a three week minimester would normally require 67.5 to 90 hours in class contact time with sufficient time to carry on independent work for the additional 45 to 67.5 required. A three credit academic course in a three week minimester would require 45 (or 37.5- 50 minute hours) hours of in-class contact time with sufficient time to carry outside work for an additional 90 hours required.
MICA also encourages faculty to develop alternative pedagogical approaches to content delivery. Courses that combine or blend academic activities such as reading, writing, and research with studio practice or hybrid courses that combine face to face engagement with online study may offer blended contact models with faculty contact respecting the normative models above and student assessment based on the completion of forty-five hours of work for each credit hour awarded. All such courses and programs must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate department chair or graduate director, associate dean, dean and/or vice-provost, and registrar prior to scheduling and implementation.