Contact Hours Policy

The Federal Definition and NECHE Commission Review of the Credit Hour defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence that reasonably 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 academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
 
At Southern Connecticut State University, the college year is divided into two semesters, each approximately 16 weeks long. Most courses carry three units (or semester hours) of credit and meet for either three 50-minute periods or two 75-minute periods per week. Some laboratory courses follow a different schedule and may carry more or less credit. Students are expected to spend a minimum of two hours weekly on out-of-class preparation for each credit hour they carry.  Here are a few examples of minimum schedule requirements:

  • On ground courses requires 12.5 contact hours per credit, 3-credit courses require 37.5 contact hours

    • 3 credit courses require 37.5 contact hours

    • 4 credit courses require 50.0 contact hours

  • Minimum contact time is obtained by dividing contact hours by weeks in the term

    • 3 credit courses require 37.5 contact hours divided by 8-week term = minimum 4h45m per week 

    • 4 credit courses require 50.0 contact hours divided by 16-week term = minimum 3h10m per week

Holidays

Sections scheduled to meet less than the minimum 12.5 contact hours per credit over the course of the semester due to holidays must outline on the syllabus supplemental academic instruction or participation (i.e. virtual learning environment, special project, etc.) for at least an equivalent amount of work as represented in the definition of credit hour.  Further, all courses must meet during the first and last week of the term they are scheduled, or include academic participation through a virtual learning environment to ensures that proper attendance verification can be completed and to comply with federal financial aid and Veteran Affairs regulations.  

Hybrid Option

Departments may opt to run courses on a hybrid schedule delivered partially on ground and partially online.  This can provide greater flexibility for students and faculty, while ensuring the appropriate amount contact time to cover course content by making use of either an abbreviated timeslot or alternating sessions within the standards outlined above.  Here a couple examples below:

  • Alternating Sessions: On ground Monday’s 5:00-7:30 converted to Hybrid meets every other Monday 5:00-7:30pm

  • Abbreviated Timeslot: On ground Monday’s 5:00-7:30 converted to Hybrid meets every Monday 6:15-7:30pm

Note: Online instruction, assignments, and participation requirements must be clearly outlined on the course syllabus for at least an equivalent amount of work as represented in the definition of credit hour.

Single Day Sessions

2.5-hour classes must be scheduled in a manner that maximizes classroom space and student options.  Courses that meet only one day per week should be considered only out of necessity for a program cohort or due to the specialized nature of the course.