Policy for Awarding Academic Credit and Definition of a Credit Hour

Meredith College employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount of credit awarded for the courses offered. The majority of credit courses offered at the College involve face-to-face instruction in a classroom with appropriately credentialed college faculty; some courses feature alternative modes of instruction, including internships, field placements, directed studies, independent studies, hybrid, and online instruction.

The College operates on a traditional semester calendar, in which students typically meet weekly over an entire 14-week semester followed by exams. Course credit is awarded in credit hour units, with one credit hour representing one weekly instructional hour (50 minutes) throughout a semester or its equivalent and two hours of out of class work each week, as per federal requirements (see Federal Code of Regulations, §600.2 Definitions). The College’s academic calendar is developed by the Academic Council each year before being approved by the College’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT). The academic calendar ensures that the appropriate number of class meetings and instructional hours are offered each semester. The most common course length for Meredith undergraduate students is either three times a week for 50 minutes at each meeting or twice a week for 80 minutes at each meeting. Additionally, the course length for graduate students is either twice a week for 80 minutes at each meeting, or once a week for 150 minutes. Courses carrying fewer credit hours meet for proportionally fewer hours – some for less than a full semester in duration. Certain specialized courses such as lab, physical activity, performance, and studio courses have more weekly contact hours than credit hours.

College courses taught in the summer, online/hybrid, or abroad are equivalent in learning outcomes and thoroughness and are typically the same in the number of instructional hours as regular semester classes on campus. In addition to the classroom instructional time, Meredith offers numerous classes in which face-to-face instruction is supplemented by an online component – whether students are consulting online texts, viewing academic films streamed via the college server, conducting discussions remotely, or sharing assignments with faculty and classmates via electronic media.

Online courses are offered according to the established academic calendar each semester. Instructional delivery equivalent to 3 credit hours of contact time, as described above, are typically offered via one or a combination of the following methods, a) regular web-based synchronous sessions using video-conferencing software, taught by the faculty at times scheduled in advance, and b) academic engagement through interactive tutorials, video lectures, online chats, group discussions moderated by faculty, virtual study/group projects, engaging with class peers and computer tutorials graded and reviewed by faculty. Each instructor will determine the appropriate mix of activities to equal the credit hour requirement.

For credit-bearing experiential learning courses that take place beyond the classroom such as internships and field placements, guidelines are set by the academic departments regarding how the course time frame will meet or exceed the hourly limits outlined above. Generally speaking, an academic department requires a minimum of 40 hours in the experiential learning setting for each hour of credit.

In short, the College awards college credit only after a student’s successful completion of an approved course or her demonstration on a national or departmental test that the requisite knowledge, skills, and competencies have been mastered.