Credit Hour Definition

Approved by:  University Curriculum and Policies Committee

History:  Approved: October 21, 2011

Related Policies

Related Forms, Procedures and References:

For Questions Contact:  Office of the Registrar | 651.690.6531

St. Catherine University uses the definition of a credit hour1 recommended by the US Department of Education:

Federal Credit Hour Definition: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
(1) 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 activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward to the award of credit hours.

This definition of a credit hour applies to courses at all levels. However, any college within the University may choose to set a policy requiring learning outcomes equivalent to more work than is defined in the federal credit hour definition.

1The Higher Learning Commission. (2011, June). Policy changes related to credit hour. Retrieved from