Credit/Contact Hour Guidelines

Awarding of credit hours (units) for coursework at NC State must adhere to the Definition of a Credit Hour as set forth in Regulation 02-20-17. NC State adheres to the Carnegie unit for contact time (750 minutes per term for each credit awarded).

One credit hour (unit) should involve an input of approximately three hours per week, or the equivalent amount of work for other instructional formats, for the average student (e.g. one hour of scheduled class and two hours of out-of-class preparation). Typically, a three semester credit hour course meets three 50-minute sessions per week for fifteen weeks for a total of 45 sessions. This basic measure may be adjusted proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars and formats of study. Regardless of the format of course content delivery, course workload expectations must align with the stated learning outcomes for students.

contact hour represents the measure of scheduled instruction given to students and is dependent on the instructional format for the course.The contact hours should be calculated on a per week basis. Ex: One contact hour per week of lecture for 15 weeks equals one credit hour

  • Contact Hour Equivalency Calculations and Formula for lecture and lab only— Excel File
  • Summer Session Contact Hour Schedule — Excel File
  • Quick View Table-pdf

The standard instructional formats at NC State include but are not limited to the following included in the table below. Other proposed credit hour/contact hour combinations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For more information on instructional format types, please click on the below categories.

Clinical

Definition

A course requiring medical- or healthcare-focused experiential work  where students test, observe, experiment, or practice a field or discipline in a hands-on or simulated environment

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

Variable: Contact Hours vary depending on the requirements for the clinical experience.

Discussion

Definition

A required session where students can discuss course material, get answers to questions and practice problems under the supervision of the instructor or teaching assistant. Describes a required and potentially graded course component of no more than 50-minutes per week that introduces no new or substantively more complex supportive material relative to the normative course component.  Such component shall convey no credit hours.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

1 Contact Hour (50 minutes)= 0 Credit Hour

Field Work

Definition
A course requiring students to participate in a partnership, professional employment, work experience, or cooperative education with an entity external to the institution, generally under the supervision of an employee of the given external entity.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: These hours reflect the number of contact/credit hours per week in a fall/spring semester.
10 Contact Hours (1/4 time)= 3 Credit Hours
20 Contact Hours (1/2 time)= 6 Credit Hours
30 Contact Hours (3/4 time)= 9 Credit Hours
40 Contact Hours (full-time)= 12 Credit Hours

Independent Study

Definition

A course requiring students to participate in individualized, independent, directed, or guided studies under the supervision of an expert or qualified representative of the field or discipline that cannot be otherwise classified as Internship, Field Experience, Cooperative Education, Practicum, Recital, Performance, or Ensemble. Contract required. Syllabus optional.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

Variable: Credit and contact hours are determined on an individual student basis with the assigned faculty member and department head but may be no more than 6 credits per student.

Internship

Definition
A course requiring students to participate in a partnership, professional employment, work experience, or cooperative education with an entity external to the institution, generally under the supervision of an employee of the given external entity. *Contract required.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
Variable: Credit and contact hours are determined on an individual student basis with the assigned faculty member and department head but may be no more than 6 credits per student.

Generally:
10 Contact Hours (1/4 time)= 3 Credit Hours
20 Contact Hours (1/2 time)= 6 Credit Hours
30 Contact Hours (3/4 time)= 9 Credit Hours
40 Contact Hours (full-time)= 12 Credit Hours

Laboratory

Definition
Laboratory describes a class in which all students are “practicing” an application of a scientific or technical nature that, for the most part, has already been delivered in the lecture class. It is a course requiring scientific or research focused experiential work where students test, observe, experiment, or practice a field or discipline in a hands-on environment. Content in a lab is based on theory or content from an associated course. Further, all the students in the room are following a similar set of instructions. Because it is instruction-based, it requires less minute-to-minute responsibility for the faculty member to interact with individual students than in a studio. The role is facilitation of students in an exercise-oriented activity for which there is a single goal or outcome. Labs are typically held in 210 designated spaces.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
Completely Self-Contained (SC)
3 Contact Hours= 1 Credit Hour (3:1)

Non Self-Contained (NSC) (Outside preparation by student)
2 Contact Hours= 1 Credit Hour (2:1)

Lecture

Definition
A course requiring the extended expression of thought supported by generally-accepted principals or theorems of a field or discipline by an expert or qualified representative of the field or discipline.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

1 Contact Hour= 1 credit hour (1:1)

Lecture & Lab

Definition
A course that requires the combined attributes of a Lecture course and a Lab course.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

Contact hours should be an aggregate of the contact hours for lecture and lab based on the existing lecture and lab contact hour guidelines.

Physical Activity

Definition
A course requiring students to participate in physical training, physical conditioning, or other physical exercise activities, sports, or games. A course instructed by faculty requiring students to participate in a physical activity to apply skills and/or techniques that are delivered in the lecture portion of the class. The physical activity develops fundamental psychomotor skills and health-related fitness components.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
2 Contact Hours= 1 Credit Hour (2:1)

Practicum

Definition
A course requiring students to participate in an approved project or proposal that practically applies previously studied theory of the field or discipline under the supervision of an expert or qualified representative of the field or discipline.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

10 Contact Hours (1/4 time)= 3 Credit Hours
20 Contact Hours (1/2 time)= 6 Credit Hours
30 Contact Hours (3/4 time)= 9 Credit Hours
40 Contact Hours (full-time)= 12 Credit Hours

Problem Session

Definition
A required session where students can discuss course material, get answers to questions and practice problems under the supervision of the instructor or teaching assistant. Describes a required and potentially graded course component of no more than 50-minutes per week that introduces no new or substantively more complex supportive material relative to the normative course component.  Such component shall convey no credit hours.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
1 Contact Hour (50 minutes)=0 Credit Hours

Recital, Performance, Ensemble

Definition
A course requiring recital-, performance-, or ensemble-focused experiential work, including individual lessons, where students, through practice or rehearsal, engage in the creative and artistic act of performing works of music, dance, or theatre for a jury or audience.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
Credit and contact hours vary, but the minimum standard of 750 contact minutes per semester per credit applies.

Recitation

Definition
A course requiring the extended expression of thought supported by generally-accepted principals or theorems of a field or discipline led by a teaching assistant or instructor under the guidance of a permanent faculty member, which often supplements or expands upon the content of a related or co-requisite course.  Describes required and potentially graded course component of no more than 50-minutes per week that introduces new or substantively more complex supportive material relative to the normative course component.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
1 Contact Hour (50 minutes)= 1 Credit Hour (1:1)

Research

Definition

Faculty-supervised individual or group research related to a specific interest or academic discipline. Contract required. Syllabus optional.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
42 Contact Hours= 1 Credit Hour (42:1)

Seminar

Definition
A course requiring students to participate in structured conversation or debate focused on assigned readings, current or historical events, or shared experiences led by an expert or qualified representative of the field or discipline.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
1 Contact Hour= 1 credit hour (1:1)

Studio

Definition

Studio describes a class in which all students are engaged in creative or artistic activities, which are new and unique and not formulated in a lecture setting. Every student in the room is performing a creative activity to obtain a specific outcome. It is a course requiring visual- or aesthetic-focused experiential work where students test, observe, experiment, or practice a field or discipline in a hands-on environment. Because it is not instruction-based, this requires more minute-to-minute responsibility for the faculty member to engage individual students towards their goal.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio
1.5 Contact Hours= 1 credit hour (1.5:1)

Student Teaching

Definition
A course requiring students to instruct or teach at an entity external to the institution, generally as part of the culminating curriculum of a teacher education or certification program.

Contact/Credit Hour Ratio

10 Contact Hours (1/4 time)= 3 Credit Hours
20 Contact Hours (1/2 time)= 6 Credit Hours
30 Contact Hours (3/4 time)= 9 Credit Hours
40 Contact Hours (full-time)= 12 Credit Hours