2020-2021 University Catalog

Credit Assignment Policy

REVISION/EFFECTIVE DATES

December 2019

PURPOSE

This policy applies to all courses at all levels that award academic credit (i.e. any course that appears on an official transcript issued by the university) regardless of the mode of delivery. Credit hours are also used to convey the breadth, depth, and length of a program of study. Academic units, the Registrar, and the University Curriculum Council are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are assigned and awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy.

SCOPE

The scope of this policy applies to all credit-bearing courses and academic programs.

POLICY

Northwestern Health Sciences University reflects the requirements in U.S Department of Education regulations that define a credit hour. 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, direct faculty instruction, or prescribed learning activity, and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one trimester 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 1 above for other academic activities as established by NWHSU including laboratories, internships, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Definitions:

  • Trimester: A trimester at NWHSU is equal to 15 weeks.
  • Clinical: A course requiring medical- or healthcare-focused experiential work where students test, observe, experiment, or practice a field or discipline in a hands-on or simulated environment.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: Variable: Contact Hours vary depending on the requirements for the clinical experience.
  • Direct Instruction: Instructional and learning activities lead or prescribed by the faculty. These activities’ goals are to create or enhance students’ knowledge of generally-accepted principles or theorems of a field or discipline.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: 1 Hour in class + 2 hours out of class student work = 1 credit hour
  • Direct Instruction & Laboratory - A course that requires the combined attributes of a Direct Instruction course and a Laboratory course.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: Contact hours should be an aggregate of the contact hours for direct instruction and lab based on the existing lecture and lab contact hour guidelines.
  • Independent/Directed Study: A course requiring students to participate in individualized, independent, directed, or guided studies under the supervision of the faculty.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: Variable: Credit and contact hours are determined on an individual student basis with the assigned faculty member and department chair but may be no more than 6 credits per student.
  • Internship: A course requiring students to participate in a partnership, professional employment, work experience, or cooperative education with an entity external to the institution, generally under the supervision of a qualified employee of the given external entity. *Contract required.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio: Variable: Credit and contact hours are determined on an individual student basis with the assigned faculty member and department chair but may be no more than 10 credits per student. 3 hours in clinic = 1 Credit Hour
  • Laboratory - Laboratory describes a class in which all students are “practicing” an application of a scientific or technical nature that, for the most part, has already been delivered in the class environment. The laboratory course requires scientific or research focused experiential work where students test, observe, experiment, or practice a field or discipline in a hands-on environment. The role is facilitation of students in an exercise-oriented activity for which there is a single goal or outcome.
    Contact/Credit Hour Ratio:  2 hours in lab + 1 hour out of class student work = 1 Credit Hour
  • Program of Study-A coordinated, coherent collection of academic, or any combination of academic, laboratory, clinical, and internship experiences, that when successfully completed, prepare graduates for practice in their field of study. Programs of study and their length will meet all relevant federal, state, and accreditor expectations.

CONTACT TIME EXPECTATIONS

Regardless of mode of delivery or course type, workload expectations must align with the stated learning outcomes for students that meet the standards set forth above.

PROCEDURE

PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING CREDIT HOURS

Course Review

The initial determination of credit hours is made when a new course or program of study, or a revision to an existing course or program of study, is proposed. The University Curriculum Council shall review the submitted syllabus to examine for the instructional format and contact time as well as for assignments and evaluation mechanisms to certify that the credit hour assignment reflects the expected student learning outcomes for the course. The University Curriculum Council will also ensure that programs of study length are appropriate.

The faculty and departments, in coordination with the Registrar, are responsible for ensuring that each course and program of study complies with the university’s credit hour standards as set forth in regulation.