Policy Information

PDF Version

Number: 3.51

Name: Assignment of Credit Hours Policy

Effective Date: 26 May 2021

Next Review Date: AY 2025–2026

Regulatory Authority

Part 1. Policy Statement.

North Hennepin Community College’s assignment of credit hours shall conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education as defined in this policy. The exact method of implementation shall be determined by the Academic Affairs and Standards Council (AASC).

Part 2. Definitions.

Subpart A. Carnegie Unit

The standard Carnegie Unit is defined as a minimum of 50 minutes of in-class instruction per week for fifteen weeks (750 minutes) and a maximum of 60 minutes of in-class instruction per week for sixteen weeks (960 minutes). For each hour of in-class instruction, students are expected to complete two hours of instruction outside of class.

Subpart B. Competency-Based Credit Hour

Competency-based credit hours may be used in lieu of seat-time credit hours. Students are granted appropriate credit upon successful demonstration of level-appropriate competencies as defined on the NHCC Course Outline. Level-appropriate competencies must be demonstrated through regularly completed Learner Outcome Assessment.

Subpart C. Course Outline

The course outline is the document approved through AASC for all courses taught at NHCC. The course outline includes the subject, course number, course title, course descriptions, prerequisites, co-requisites, total credits, lecture/lab breakdown, academic content, and course outcomes and competencies as they relate to program and/or discipline goals, the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), and the North Hennepin Community College Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs). The academic content and outcomes are common to all faculty members who teach the course.

Subpart D. Federal Credit Hour Definition

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 reasonable approximates not less than:

  • ·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
  • at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward the award of credit hours.

Federal law dictates that a semester credit hour must include a minimum of 37.5 clock hours of instruction (12.5 clock hours of in-class instruction and 25 clock hours of out-of-class student work).

Subpart E. Final Exam Periods

A period of up to 120 minutes shall be granted to all courses for the purposes of administering final exams or other appropriate assessments. The 120 minutes shall be in addition to the credit hour instruction as defined below.

Faculty who teach courses that end before the official final exam period should plan for a degree of flexibility when determining the time and method of administering final exams or other appropriate assessments.

Subpart F. Lecture Credit Hour

The credit hour at North Hennepin Community College is 750 minutes of in-class instruction and 1,500 minutes of out-of-class instruction for all standard lecture courses. A typical one-credit class meeting 14 times will meet for a minimum of 55 minutes of in-class instruction (750/14=53.6 rounded to 55). Compressed schedules shall recalculate the class period to meet the 750-minute requirement as appropriate.

Subpart G. Non-Lecture Credit Hour

The credit hour for non-lecture courses at North Hennepin Community College is a minimum of 1500 minutes of in-class instruction and a maximum of 2,250 minutes of in-class instruction.

Subpart H. Clinical Hours in Programs Related to Medical Fields

Programs that require students to complete clinical hours will use competency-based credits in alignment with industry standards.

Subpart I. Alternative Modes of Delivery

Any course that reduces instructional time in the classroom. Reduced time will be compensated through increased out-of-class instruction time, competency-based credits, or any combination of the two.

Part 3. Campus Review.

Review Action: Date(s)

Campus Community Review Period: 5 Mar 2021–26 Mar 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Review: 3 May 2021

AFSCME Review: 5 Apr 2021–14 May 2021

MAPE Review: 5 Apr 2021–14 May 2021

MMA Review: 5 Apr 2021–14 May 2021

Shared Governance Council Review: 14 May 2021

Student Senate Review: 29 April 2021

President Rolando Garcia Approval: 26 May 2021

Campus Community Dissemination: 14 June 2021


  • Approved Fall 2011
  • Modified Spring 2017
    • Campus Review 13-Mar-2017 through 24-Mar-2017
    • AFSCME Review 25-Apr-2017
    • MAPE Review 25-Apr-2017
    • MMA Review 25-Apr-2017
    • Shared Governance Council Review 23-Jun-2017
    • Student Senate Review 13-Apr-2017
    • President Approval 21-Aug-2017
    • Campus Community Dissemination 28-Aug-2017
  • Updated Spring 2018 to reflect 55 minute and 80-minute block schedules, campus review Fall 2018
  • Updated Spring 2021 to add language about clinical hours in medical fields. Approved 26 May 2021 by President Rolando Garcia.