Policy on the Credit Hour and Program Length

Definition of a Credit Hour

Prescott College uses the semester credit hour for awarding of academic credit. The credit hour is defined by Prescott College in accordance with HLC Policy FDCR.A.10.020 (11/2020) and with the Federal Policy as follows:

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: 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 an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward to the award of credit hours. 34CFR 600.2

Program Length

Prescott College requires a minimum of 120 semester credits for the bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 30 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree for the master’s degree. At least thirty credits of the 120 semester credits required for the bachelor’s degree must be in courses addressing and assessing the general education learning outcomes for which all undergraduate students must demonstrate competence. See the “Assessment of Learning” section for more detail. Students pursuing accelerated master’s degrees may receive graduate credits for approved graduate courses taken while an undergraduate and count those courses for both undergraduate and graduate credit and course requirements; at least 50% of the credits for the master’s degree must be in courses designed for graduate work.

The Credit Hour in Self-directed, Experiential Learning: Required Demonstration of Competence

Prescott College’s mission and pedagogical values center self-direction and experiential learning within an interdisciplinary curriculum. Self-directed, experiential learning requires students to set individualized goals for their learning, to engage in appropriate experiences designed to allow application of theory in practice, and to reflect on and assess their learning. Typical courses, regardless of delivery or degree level, integrate and assess experiential learning. 

In accordance with commonly accepted practices in higher education institutions offering credit-based, competency-based education, Prescott College awards credit only when a faculty member determines that a student has demonstrated competence for course learning outcomes. Credit is not awarded for time or experience alone.

Credit Hour Equivalencies to Typical Learning Time

The following chart indicates the minimum number of hours that reasonably approximate the typical time a typical student would invest to achieve student learning outcomes required for typical semester credit hour awards. The equivalencies are based on a 50-minute typical in-class hour plus two 50-minute typical out-of-class hours for a typical 15-week semester converted into real 60-minute hours of typical learning time per term. The equivalencies may be met by any combination of learning activities and any amount of actual learning time that result in demonstration of learning outcomes evaluated by faculty members as typical for the associated amount of learning time and credits. Credit awards are based on qualified faculty evaluation of evidence that demonstrates appropriate quality and level of learning outcomes rather than on actual learning time.

Semester Credits        Total Typical Learning Time per term

          1                               37.5 hours

          2                               75 hours

          3                               112.5 hours

          4                               150 hours

Because pace of reading, writing and other learning activities varies widely among learners, actual time spent in learning activities to achieve course learning outcomes will vary. Credit amounts for specific courses should reflect a reasonable expectation of the typical time it would take to meet the learning outcomes specified for the course in the syllabi and/or learning contracts. The specific learning activities and the actual learning time required for any course will vary from the typical learning time per term in the chart above; however, the demonstrated student learning outcomes should be appropriate for, and aligned with, the typical learning time per term per credit awarded.

Credit Hour and Differentiation of learning / Credit Levels

Prescott College encourages faculty to differentiate learning activities and assessments within a course to meet the needs of individual learners and to be able to grant credit at the level at which learning is demonstrated.

Rubrics have been aligned with the Degree Qualifications Profile at the lower division undergraduate, upper division undergraduate, and graduate levels. The level of credit awarded for any course should align with the level of competence demonstrated by learners on course learning outcomes.

Regular and Substantive Interaction between Instructors and Students

Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a required and documented component of all programs regardless of delivery or degree level.

End-of-Term Processes

In some programs and/or in some types of classes, a student must launch an electronic course evaluation. The link to the course evaluation can be found on the website. In some programs and courses, students complete a narrative self-evaluation as a component to the evaluation while the mentor or instructor completes a narrative evaluation. In the case of mentored courses, the faculty advisor must evaluate student learning and approve narrative evaluations and credit recommendations. The narrative evaluations for mentored courses become a part of the student’s official Prescott College transcript. The grade or assignment of “credit” or “no-credit” is submitted by the course instructor or faculty advisor via MyAcademicServices.

Students who qualify for an incomplete (see incomplete policy) and have the agreement of the mentor or instructor to take the incomplete must complete an incomplete contract by the final day of the term in which the course was originally taken.