Policy Information

PDF Version

Number: 3.51

Name: Assignment of Credit Hours Policy

Author: Policy Committee

Effective Date: August 21, 2017

Next Review Date: Spring 2022

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:

  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. 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 840 minutes of in-class instruction and 1,680 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 60 minutes of in-class instruction (840/14=60). Compressed schedules shall recalculate the class period to meet the 840 minute requirement as appropriate.

Subpart F. Non-Lecture Credit Hour.

The credit hour for non-lecture courses at North Hennepin Community College is a minimum of 1,680 minutes of in-class instruction and a maximum of 2,250 minutes of in-class instruction. Total instruction (in-class time combined with out-of-class time) need not exceed 2,250 minutes.

Subpart B. 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




MAPE Review


MMA Review


Shared Governance Council Review


Student Senate Review


President Approval


Campus Community Dissemination



  • Approved Fall 2011
  • Modified Spring 2017