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Credit Hour Definition


To define a credit hour for courses offered at the University of Kansas.

Applies to: 

All courses offered at the University of Kansas.

Juniper Gardens
Medical Center, Kansas City
Policy Statement: 

The University of Kansas uses the Federal definition of a credit hour, which states:

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 hour1 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 academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work including simulation, online/distance/hybrid courses, standardized patient experiences, preceptor visits, internships, practica, studio work, independent study, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

1A class hour at the University of Kansas is typically 50 minutes to allow students and faculty time to transition between classes and buildings.


Lawrence Governed Contact:
Office of the University Registrar
1502 Iowa Street
Lawrence, KS 66045

Medical Center Governed Contact:
Office of the Registrar
3901 Rainbow Blvd, Dykes G035
Kansas City, KS 66160

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Effective on: 
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Review Cycle: 
Biennial (Every Two Years)

As discussed in the March 18, 2011 memo from the Department of Education, the definition of a credit hour is needed, in part, because Federal financial aid is awarded annually based on student enrollment as represented in credit hours. While it is essential for accreditation purposes to accurately measure a student’s work, the Federal definition provides flexibility to institutions. The memo referenced above and the Department of Education’s Q&A webpage regarding this definition are useful resources.

instruction, time, seat time, instructional hour, credit hour
Change History: 

10/28/2022: Fixed broken link.
03/05/2019: Policy updated.
12/2014: Updated links to the Federal definition of a credit hour.
Prior to final approval, this policy was developed by the Office of the University Registrar and reviewed and endorsed by the deans, SenEx, AP&P, the University Registrar, and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management.

Academic Categories: 
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