Savannah State University
Fifth-Year Interim Report
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FR 4.9 Definition of Credit Hours


The institution has policies and procedures for determining the credit hours awarded for courses and programs that conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education and to Commission policy.


Compliance                     ___ Non-Compliance




Credit Hour Definition

In accordance with Federal Government guidelines, Savannah State University defines a credit hour as:


(1)       the amount of student time investment that reasonably approximates one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out of class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester, or  


(2) at least an equivalent amount of work as outlined in (1) for other academic activities as established by Savannah State including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.


Conformity with Commonly Accepted Credit Hour Policies and Practices

Savannah State University's use of 50 clock minutes as equivalent to one hour is in accordance with commonly accepted practice in higher education.  The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) defines one hour of credit as the unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term.  It is applied toward the total number of credit hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal academic credit award. 


Fifty clock minutes per week per credit hour for approximately 15 weeks provides approximately 750 minutes instruction time per credit hour, which adheres to the University System of Georgia (USG) policy on minimum length for academic courses, which also aligns with the Federal Definition of Semester Credit Hours and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Credit Hour Policy:


For each semester hour of credit, a traditional lecture or laboratory course shall strive to meet a minimum of 750 minutes.  Final exam periods may be counted as class time when computing required hours


All classes must be of reasonable length and include both content and contact sufficient to maintain high academic quality and standards commensurate with credit hours awarded for a "traditional" three-semester hour lecture class.


Alignment of the Academic Calendar and Course Schedules

The majority of course offerings at Savannah State are three-credit courses and therefore the academic calendar is developed primarily around three-credit course class meetings. Each year, The Academic Calendar Committee of the Faculty Senate propose the academic year calendar for Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters of the succeeding year to the Faculty Senate for approval, with consultation from faculty, deans and other academic administrators, and taking into consideration the amount of contact time students must meet each semester for each course that meets one, two, or three times per week. The schedule of courses each semester provides the number of class meetings for each week of the semester as well as the total number of meetings for the semester.  For the 2015-2016 Academic Calendar and Schedule, each semester was fifteen weeks in length and each hour of credit required 750 minutes of contact time.


Traditional, Online and Off-Site Courses

At Savannah State, common practice is that courses designed for online learning are first developed for face to face delivery. Therefore, for an online course, the course format is changed to fit online modalities, but the content and workload remain the same as its face-to-face counterpart. The courses for the Master of Public Administration (MPA); Master of Social Work (MSW); and Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning (MSUSP) degrees are offered at the Coastal Georgia Center, and adhere to the credit-hour guidelines of the university; the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; the Federal Government; and SACSCOC. 



As demonstrated in the above narrative and supporting documentation, Savannah State University has policies and procedures for determining the credit hours awarded for courses and programs that conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education and to Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) policies.



Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

IPEDS Definition of Credit Hours

SACSCOC Credit Hours Policy Statement

USG Policy Manual 3.4.1 Semester System

USG Policy Manual 3.4.2 Uniform Academic Calendar

Savannah State University Academic Calendars

Savannah State University Course Schedules