Number: INST 070
Effective: December 1, 2016
Last Reviewed: August 1, 2021
Department: Instruction
Last Revision: August 1, 2021


To provide guidelines regarding credit hours in compliance with the Northwest Commission on College and Universities’ Policy on Credit Hours, Idaho State Board of Education Policy, and U.S. Department of Education Policy.


Applies to all CWI credit courses regardless of the modality of delivery.  Courses that are delivered to meet continuing education requirements are exempt from this policy and do not count toward degree requirements.


Credit Hour: time-based reference for measuring educational attainment used by the Association of American Universities and Colleges.

Clock hour: a 50-minute lecture, laboratory, internship, or recitation in a 60-minute period.


This policy defines credit hours and the assignment of credit hours. Such definitions are important because there are many types of educational experiences with which Credit Hour assignments are associated. Additionally, definitions are required for compliance with federal law and accreditation standards and facilitation of accurate academic measurements and cross-campus comparability.


Credit Hour Requirements

For each Credit Hour granted, students, must have successfully met the academic requirements with an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates not less than:

  • 12.5 clock hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 25 clock hours of out-of-class student work; or
  • At least an equivalent amount of combined in-class and out-of-class clock hours for other academic activities as established by CWI including laboratory work, internships, practicum, and other academic work leading to the award of the appropriate number of credits.

CWI courses align with Credit Hours in the following manner:

  Credit Hours Instructional Contact Hours Out of Class Hours Total Hours
Lecture 1 12.5 25 37.5
Lab A 1 37.5 0 37.5
Lab B 1 25 12.5 37.5


The expectation of contact time with the instructor and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course regardless of modality. Courses with less structured classroom schedules, such as workshops, research seminars, independent studies, internships, practicum, studio work, or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should state clearly the workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.

Verification And Compliance 

Credit Hours are examined for compliance by various campus units.

  • Departments and schools will verify that Credit Hours being offered for their courses are consistent with this policy.
  • The Curriculum Committee will verify that Credit Hours for new courses being approved are consistent with this policy.
  • The Registrar will verify compliance when courses are scheduled to be offered.

Related Policies, Procedures, and Forms: