REG 02.20.17 – Definition of Credit Hour

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: June 28, 2013

Additional References:
UNC POL400.1.6 – Academic Calendars
Academic Calendar
34 CFR 600.2
NC State Contact Hour Guidelines

Contact Info: Vice Chancellor & Dean of Academic and Student Affairs (919-515-2446)


This regulation 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. Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this regulation.


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:

2.1 One hour 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

2.2 At least an equivalent amount of work as required in 2.1 above for other academic activities as established by NC State including laboratories, internships, practica, studios, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.


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


4.1 Academic Calendar

4.1.1 NC State adheres to the Carnegie unit for contact time (750 minutes for each credit awarded). The University Registrar prepares and recommends the annual Academic Calendar for approval by the Chancellor no less than 18 months in advance of the planned academic year.

4.1.2 NC State follows UNC-General Administration’s academic calendar policy.

4.2 Course Review

4.2.1 The Administrative Boards or Curricula Committees of each College within NC State shall comply with this regulation in their review and approval of all courses and for certifying that the expected student learning outcomes for the course meets the credit hour definition. The determination of credit hours is made when a new course or a revision to an existing course is proposed. The submitted syllabus is examined for the instructional format and contact time as well as for assignments and evaluation mechanisms. The standard instructional formats and associated contact hours are posted on the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula website.

4.2.2 The faculty and departments, in coordination with Registration and Records, The Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula, and the Graduate School, are responsible for ensuring that each course complies with the university’s credit hour standards as set forth in this regulation.