Maria College Credit Hour Policy
The credit hour policy at Maria College is based on a strict application of the U.S. Department of Education definition of a credit hour and in accordance with New York State Department of Education credit hour regulations and in compliance with the policies set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Specifically, the College applies the federal definition of a credit hour: “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 –
(1) Not less than 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.”
All credit-bearing courses at Maria College must comply with Section 50.1 (o) of the New York State Commissioner of Education Regulations: “Semester hour means a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments, except as otherwise provided pursuant to section 52.2(c)(4) of this Subchapter. This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.”
Application of the Credit Hour Policy:
The Maria College credit hour policy applies to all courses that award academic credit regardless of the mode of delivery including but not limited to lecture, seminar, laboratory, online, hybrid, and self-paced. Academic departments and the Academic Affairs Committee are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for academic work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy. The expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course regardless of mode of instructional delivery whether fully online, hybrid of in-person and online delivery, or delivered in lecture or seminar format. Courses that have less structured classroom formats such as independent study, internships, cooperative learning, practica, clinical, fieldwork or other academic work leading to the awarding of credit hours must clearly state learning objectives and expected outcomes as well as workload expectations that meet the federal and state standards specified above.
Credit Hour Awarding and Review Process:
Maria College follows a semester format with fall and spring semesters having a minimum of 15 weeks with an additional week for final examinations. Summer semester terms consist of fewer weeks of instruction and weekend terms consist of fewer days of instruction but both formats still adhere to federal and state credit hour regulations in terms of instructional time, amount of work required and expected outcomes. The academic calendar for each of these configurations must provide a minimum of 750 minutes of instruction per credit hour. The standard meeting times for courses at Maria College are three 50-minute classes, two 75-minute classes and one 150-minute class per week (170 minutes with breaks included) which over a 15 week semester plus a 120 minute exam period provide at least 750 minutes of instructional time per credit hour. The academic calendar is prepared by the Registrar for approval by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and College President to assure compliance with federal and state credit hour regulations. The academic calendar for 2014-2015 is found at Academic Calendar.
The faculty and academic program chairs have responsibility for developing, maintaining and evaluating the curricula comprising specific academic programs. Existing courses are evaluated for adherence to federal and state credit hour regulations on an annual basis with findings reported to the Academic Affairs Committee chaired by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. New courses are developed and approved at the program level and are subsequently submitted to the Academic Affairs Committee for approval or denial. The Committee is responsible for certifying that all proposed new or revised courses conform to the federal and state credit hour regulations. Syllabi submitted with proposals for new or revised courses are examined by the Committee for contact time and for verifying that the expected student learning outcomes for the courses meet the credit hour standard.
Credit Hour Specifications:
Courses consisting of lecture or seminar based learning environments have students who meet in person or online to participate in various forms of group instruction provided by a faculty member. For lecture and seminar courses, one credit is awarded for a minimum of 50 contact minutes per week or 750 contact minutes for the entire semester. The minimum out-of-class student work for one credit is 100 minutes per week or 1500 minutes for the entire semester as mandated by federal regulations. There are 2250 minutes or 37.5 hours of total instructional contact time and out-of-class student work per credit for the entire semester.
Laboratory courses involve experiential learning in group settings under direct supervision of a faculty member with students conducting laboratory experiments or studies. The minimum contact time per credit for laboratory courses is twice that of a lecture-based course. For laboratory courses, one credit is awarded for a minimum of 100 contact minutes per week or 1500 contact minutes for the entire semester. The minimum out-of-class student work for one credit of a laboratory course is 50 minutes per week or 750 minutes for the entire semester. There are 2250 minutes or 37.5 hours of total instructional contact time and out-of-class student work per credit for the entire semester.
Clinicals are courses which involve experiential learning under direct supervision of a faculty member with students performing work in a clinical setting. The minimum contact time per credit for a clinical course is two times that of a lecture but may vary depending on the amount of outside work assigned. For clinical courses, one credit is awarded for a minimum of 120 contact minutes per week or 1800 contact minutes for the entire semester. With an additional minimum of 30 minutes per week or 450 minutes per semester of out-of-class student work for clinical courses, there are 2250 minutes or 37.5 hours of total instructional contact time and out-of-class student work per credit for the entire semester
Fieldwork courses involve experiential learning in a professional setting under direct supervision of fieldwork educators who serve as site supervisors and performance evaluators. The total amount of required hours may be mandated by professional accrediting organizations. The minimum contact time per credit for fieldwork courses is 160 minutes per week or 2400 minutes or 40 hours for the entire semester. Similarly, internship courses involve experiential learning under the direct supervision of a site supervisor or preceptor and require a minimum of 160 minutes per week or 2400 minutes or 40 hours per credit for the entire semester.