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AA/PPS 02.03.10 - Instructional Contact Time and Academic Credit

Instructional Contact Time and Academic Credit

AA/PPS No. 02.03.10 (4.11)
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 10/11/2021
Next Review Date: 7/01/2024 (E3Y)
Sr. Reviewer: University Registrar


Texas State University is committed to maintaining an effective process for awarding academic credit.


    1. The purpose of this policy and procedure statement is to document Texas State policy and practices for determining and upholding standards related to the awarding of credit hours for student work consistent with state and national standards and for setting expectations for classroom or direct faculty instruction and time spent by students on out-of-class assignments and activities. This policy references Federal Regulation 34 CFR 600.2, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Chapter 4. Rules Applying to All Public Institutions of Higher Education in Texas, Subchapter A. General Provisions, Sections 4.6 and AA/PPS No. 02.01.01, Academic Credit Courses: Additions, Changes, and Deletions.

    1. This policy applies to all graduate and undergraduate programs that award academic credit, regardless of the instructional delivery method, including, but not limited to, online, hybrid, self-paced, lecture, seminar, and laboratory.

    2. A credit hour is defined as the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is obtained through a minimum of one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester.

    3. A credit hour may also be earned by at least an equivalent of the work required in Section 02.02 for other academic activities including laboratory work, internships, studio work, practicum, independent research activity, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

    4. One-semester-credit-hour courses should contain 15 classroom or direct instructional hours and 30 hours of out-of-class student work. Three-semester-credit-hour courses should contain 45 to 48 hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction, depending on whether a final exam is given, and 60 hours of out-of-class student work. Many instructional formats may require additional contact hours.

    5. To ensure good quality of student learning, students should not enroll in more than one credit hour per week of the term (long or summer). Generally, students should not be allowed more than six semester credit hours during a five-and-a-half-week session or no more than three credit hours during a three-week session.


    1. The final exam period is part of the instructional time. If a final exam is not appropriate for a particular course, an appropriate form of instruction should be delivered at the time scheduled for the final exam.

    2. Variations from this guideline may be permitted if the course has been reviewed and approved through the faculty-driven course curriculum process, and it has been determined that the course has equivalent learning outcomes to a traditionally delivered course.

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

    4. The Office of the University Registrar and all others involved with setting calendars and class schedules should help ensure this guideline is met.


    1. Reviewer of this PPS includes the following:

      Position Date
      University Registrar July 1 E3Y

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    University Registrar; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs