Skip to Main Content

THE SEMESTER HOUR

The term “semester hour” describes the basic credit value for a course or courses. In general, college semester hours are calculated based on classroom contact hours, with the standard model equating 15 hours of class time plus 30 hours of work/study outside of class (45 total hours) to one credit hour. For asynchronous online courses where classroom contact hours cannot be measured, 45 hours/credit hour is estimated through time spent on learning tasks, such as reading and reviewing instructional content (texts, lectures, videos, etc.), completing quizzes and assignments, and/or participating in discussion forums. At Catawba College, most online courses are 3 credit hours, which equates to 135 hours of learning activity spread over 8 weeks. Regardless of modality (face-to-face delivery, hybrid, or online), courses must meet the same weekly learning objectives and overall course learning outcomes. All modes of undergraduate courses (face-to-face, online, hybrid) will need to justify how they meet this equivalence before gaining approval from the Curriculum Committee. All graduate courses, whether face-to-face or online, will need to justify how they meet this equivalence before gaining approval from the Graduate Council. The minimum expectation is that for every one hour of class time, students are spending a minimum of at least 2 hours outside of class on coursework per week. For internships, practica, and other fieldwork experiences, the credit hour policy is defined under that heading as stated in the Catalog.