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University Resources, Operations and Policies

Credit Hour Policy

Policy Statement

Each course at Adelphi University is assigned a number of credit hours, based on the traditional Carnegie Unit, as the unit of measure of the course’s level of instruction, academic rigor, and time requirements. The Office of the Provost bears responsibility for University compliance with federal and state regulations regarding credit hours, as well as compliance with the Credit Hour Policy of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Reason for Policy

This policy sets forth core principles and standards with respect to credit hours at Adelphi University. This is done in accordance with regulations defined by the United States Department of Education and the New York State Education Department, guidelines established in the Credit Hour Policy of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and common practice in higher education.

Who Is Governed by this Policy

Faculty, Staff, and Students


The University operates on a semester calendar; thus, credit hour determinations are based on the premise of a traditional fifteen-week semester.

For classroom-based courses, each credit hour indicates a minimum of 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments.

For non-classroom-based courses that require less time for out-of-class supplementary assignments (such as laboratories, studios, and performances), each credit hour indicates a minimum of 30 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction.

For non-classroom-based courses in which students are engaged in independent projects that require additional out-of-class work and are guided by regular instructor feedback (such as research and independent studies), the credit awarded for supervised individual activity will be awarded with a correspondence of one credit per 45 hours of student

For online and blended courses, in which more than 30% of the instruction is provided online, credit hours are assigned based on the credit assigned to traditional courses of comparable rigor, content, and time requirements.

For internship courses, each credit hour indicates a minimum of 50 clock hours of work.

For courses where the primary learning activity is experiential (such as clinical work, field work, or student teaching), credit hours are assigned in compliance with the standards of the relevant professional accrediting organization and with common practice in higher education.

The total number of credit hours students take in one term determines their enrollment status. Full-time status is defined as 12 undergraduate credits or 9 graduate credits, although 12 or more graduate credit hours are required for full-time status for federal and state financial aid purposes and for tuition and fee rate calculations.

The number of credit hours that students earn is the primary academic measure by which progress toward degree is gauged. Freshman class-level indicates less than thirty earned credits, sophomore class-level indicates at least thirty but less than sixty earned credits, junior class-level indicates at least sixty but less than ninety earned credits, and senior class-level indicates at least ninety earned credits.


Carnegie Unit: Developed in 1906 as the measure of the amount of time that a student has studied a subject. The post-secondary credit hour is a metric derived from the Carnegie Unit, which was originally established for secondary education.

Class-Level: A student’s status as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.

Clock Hour: 60 minutes.

Enrollment Status: A determination, using a student’s number of enrolled credit, of whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time.

Semester: a term consisting of 15 weeks of instruction.


This policy does not have forms associated with it at this time. Upon periodic policy review this area will be evaluated to determine if additional information is needed to supplement the policy.

Related Information

Guidance from the US Department of Education regarding a credit hour

Federal definition of credit-hour in 34 CFR 600.2

NYSED Chapter II Regulations of the Commissioner 50.1 definition of credit (n) and semester hour

Middle States Commission on Higher Education Credit Hour Policy

The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape


Office of the Provost
p – 516.877.3160
e –

Office of the University Registrar
p – 516.877.3300
e –

Document History

  • Last Reviewed Date: February, 2018
  • Last Revised Date: February, 2018
  • Policy Origination Date: Not known                

Who Approved This Policy


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