University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Instructional Time per Course Credit: Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester

Policy Statement

This policy guides academic units in scheduling the instructional time for a specified number of course credits. Instructional time expectations per credit do not vary with the method(s) of delivery of the course or with the length of the academic term.

  1. For all enrollment periods and for all courses, the hours of instructional time for a course must equal at least the number of credits for the course times the number of weeks the course is offered during the full academic term.
  2. Instructional time is defined for these purposes as instruction by the instructor(s) assigned to the class as scheduled by the academic department. Instructional time does not include office hours or casual or informal time spent with students.
  3. Course proposals must include information regarding instructional time. Proposals must provide significant evidence to justify a schedule that includes fewer total instructional hours than the standard defined in paragraph (1.). Instructional hours of all types equal to or in excess of the standard defined in paragraph (1.) need not be justified.
  4. When reviewing a course proposal, college and campus curriculum committees and other approving bodies (e.g., the Council on Liberal Education) must consider the instructional hours in reaching a decision on whether to approve a proposed course; such bodies should normally reject course proposals that have fewer instructional hours than the standard defined in paragraph (1.), barring significant evidence that reduced instructional contact hours are appropriate. In their review, these bodies will also take into consideration the method(s) of delivery of the course (e.g., traditional classroom setting, various distance education delivery methods).
  5. Courses for individualized instruction such as directed study, directed readings, directed research, and internships, which require a written contract outlining the responsibilities of the student for the course, are explicitly exempted from this standard, and may have fewer instructional hours per week than the standard.


This policy is not applicable to the Duluth campus.

Reason for Policy

Instructional time per course credit is defined to provide a consistent minimum expectation for students and faculty. Students and faculty should know in general what time commitment is involved for a specified number of course credits. This policy implements criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Higher Learning Commission and compliance with the federal definition of a “credit hour” for financial aid eligibility.




Frequently Asked Questions


Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact(s) Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn 612-624-1328 [email protected]
Twin Cities Campus Procedures Sarah J Kussow 612-626-7086 [email protected]
Crookston Campus Procedures Jason Tangquist 218-281-8424 [email protected]
Morris Campus Peh Ng 320-589-6015 [email protected]
Rochester Campus Procedures Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain 507-258-8006 [email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
  • Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn


Instructional time
Scheduled instruction/teaching by an individual appointed for that purpose.


Collegiate and campus curriculum committees
Review proposed courses in light of conformance with policy; assess the appropriateness of proposed instructional hours. When proposed instructional hours vary from the standard, assess the type of course, and the proposed delivery method.
Academic Departments
Follow the established policy for instructional time per course credit when scheduling courses.


April 2016 - Comprehensive Review. Major Revision. Simplifies language for clarity and removes repetitive language. Adds language in paragraph three to include the need for significant evident to justify proposals with fewer than normal instructional hours. Clarifies the section on individualized instruction to address policy questions regarding these courses.
July 2014 - Minor Revision. Primary Contact updated, Statement clarified. Added FAQ, and clarified that instructional time does not vary with the method(s) of delivery or the length of the academic term. Added the following sentence to Reason: "This policy also implements criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Higher Learning Commission."
April 2013 - Minor Revision. In Policy Statement, 4 and 5 updated to policy address distance education course delivery. Added definitions, responsibilities, FAQ and Related Information.
December 2009 - Policy now applies to Crookston.
April 2009 - Clarified policy and put in standard format.
April 2009