University of Minnesota  FAQ

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


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

  1. What is an hour of instructional time?

    An hour of instructional time refers to the 50-minute block of scheduled instructional time. The general expectation for total scheduled instructional time for a 3-credit course during the typical 15-week semester would be 2,250 minutes (3 credits x 15 weeks x 50 minutes).

  2. How is the standard academic term defined?

    In accordance with federal financial aid and Higher Learning Commission guidelines, 15 weeks is the standard academic term length. The full academic term runs from the first day of the semester until the last day of final exams.

  3. How does this policy apply to courses taught in terms other than the full semester?

    The expectation for total instructional time for a course applies to all academic terms. Courses scheduled during the May session, summer session, or any other special terms have the same expectation for total instructional time per credit. For example, a 3-credit course would be expected to have 2,250 minutes of total scheduled instructional time.

    This chart provides some sample calculations.

  4. Do the instructional time and student workload expectations per undergraduate credit apply to all courses, including online or hybrid courses?

    Yes. The instructional and student workload expectations per credit are the same, regardless of the method of delivery of the course (for example, online, classroom, or a combination of delivery methods). Instructional time for online courses may include pre-recorded lectures or scheduled online class time.

  5. How should instructional hours be distributed during a week?

    In the majority of cases, the standard for instructional time is met when the number of instructional hours per week equals the number of credits for the course. However, the instructional hours do not need to be spread out evenly by week.

  6. Could the level of expected homework in a course justify a schedule with fewer instructional hours than the standard definition?

    No. A significant amount of homework, assigned reading, or other student-led activities outside of class generally cannot be used to justify a schedule with fewer instructional hours than the standard.