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From Appalachian State University Policy Manual

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Policy 214

1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to support Appalachian State University’s compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (SACSCOC or “Commission”) expectations regarding credits and federal regulations governing the award of financial aid.

2 Scope

This applies to all faculty, staff and students of Appalachian State University.

3 Definitions

3.1 Credit Hour

the unit by which an institution measures its course work. The number of hours assigned to a course is a measure of the outcomes expected, the mode of instruction, the amount of time spent in class, and the amount of work that is expected outside of class in order to complete all course objectives.

3.2 Semester Credit Hour

the most commonly used unit for reporting the credit earned in a class and is based on a sixteen week calendar at Appalachian State University. Across the UNC system, a class must meet for a minimum of 750 minutes for every semester hour of credit.

4 Policy and Procedure Statements

4.1 Introduction

  1. Accreditation Standards - All courses offered for credit at Appalachian State University (the University) must meet both internal and external accreditation standards for class contact hours and for expected out-of-class learning.
  2. Out-of-Class Preparation - Students should expect to spend at least two to three hours of studying for every hour of class time. Hence, a fifteen hour academic load might reasonably require between 30 and 45 hours per week of out-of-class work.

4.2 Types of Credit Awarded by Appalachian State University

  1. Regular Credit
    Credit earned for regularly offered collegiate courses of instruction that meet the requirements of a degree program.
  2. Thesis Credit
    Students who are judged by the thesis or dissertation committee chair to be making satisfactory progress in the term of enrollment will be assigned a grade of IP (in progress) by the chair for that term. Students who are not progressing satisfactorily will be assigned a grade of U. This credit allows measure of the expected amount of work and the resources used, while the student actually earns zero degree credit hours.
  3. Transfer Credit
    Appalachian State University Students will be granted credit for hours earned at other accredited institutions. The North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement dictates that students who have earned an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from any North Carolina Community College have met the general education requirements of any University of North Carolina campus. In addition, completion of the UNC Common Core at one of the North Carolina Community Colleges satisfies general education requirements. Courses not previously approved may be submitted to the appropriate department for review.

4.3 Dual Degree/Middle College/Etc.

  1. Life Experience
    In exceptional cases, credit can be awarded for prior non-college-based learning if the credit sought is related to the student’s degree program (i.e. general education, major or licensure requirements). Assessment of prior learning can commence only after a student has been admitted to the University and has declared a major.
  2. Assessment of Creditable Learning
    Anyone seeking credit for life experience must be either a candidate for an undergraduate degree at Appalachian or taking courses for teacher licensure. Credit for life experience cannot be used to repeat a course, nor can it be used to meet the University’s residency requirements for graduation.


Summary of Semester Credit Hours Guidelines
Instructional Type Weekly Student Class Hours Preparation Weekly per Class Hours Semester Minutes Class/Prep Number of Semester Credit Hours Awarded Notes
Non-Laboratory Class Instruction
Lecture 1 to 4 Required 750-3,000/1,500-6,000 1 to 4
Seminar 1 to 3 Required 750 to 2,250/1,500-4,500 1 to 3
Web/Web Based 3 Required 2250/4,500 3
Majority/Web Based Hybrid
Lecture/Laboratory Class Instruction
Combined Lecture/Lab 3 to 5 class hours varies 2,250-3,750/0 4
Combined Lecture/Studio 1-5 class hours varies 750-3,750/0 2 to 4
Clinical 5.6 to 8.4 class hours (84 to 126 contact hours per course) varies 750-3,750/0 3
Laboratory Class Instruction
Laboratory 1 to 3 class hours varies 750-2,250/0 1
Studio 2 to 4 class hours varies 750-2,250/0 2 to 3
Performance/Recital/Ensemble 2-5 rehearsal hours varies 750-2,250/0 0 to 1
Physical Education/Outdoor/Activity based 3 hours varies 750-2,250/0 1
Conversational Foreign Language 3 hours varies 750-2,250/0 3
Independent Study
Instructional Assistant 0 varies 1
Lesson/Individual Instruction 1 to 3 varies 750 to 2250/0 varies
Practicum 0 varies varies
Research 0 varies varies
Student Teaching 0 varies 12
Thesis/Dissertation 0 varies 1 to 3
Field Experience 0 varies varies
Independent/Individual Study 0 varies varies
Internship 0 varies 1 to 12
Continuing Education- Other Credit
Study Abroad/Away 1 to 3 hours varies varies 1 to 6 Depends on length of trips
Individual Study 0 varies varies
Short course/conferences/workshops 10 class hours 500/0 1 CEU

5 Appendices

Appendix A: UNC Policy Manual Statement on Credit Hours
Appendix B: Study Abroad, Study Away, and other Short Term Courses
Appendix C: Approval Process for Short-Term Study – Away Courses (Includes any short-term course offered within U.S Borders)
Appendix D: Examples of Classes That Meet Appalachian State University Credit Hour Guidelines

6 Additional References

  1. Appalachian State University Undergraduate Bulletin
  2. Appalachian State University Policy on Internet/Web-Based Courses
  3. AOEP Proposal Form

7 Contact Information

Vice Provost for Faculty Policies and Development | Academic Affairs | 828-262-2643

8 Original Effective Date

August 30, 2012

9 Revision Dates

January 24, 2022