Credit Hour Policy

Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: February 25, 2013; Revised February 24, 2016; July 2016; January 20, 2022; January 23, 2023


McNeese State University uses the credit hour or its equivalency for academic scheduling and awarding of academic credit. This policy aligns with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation Standard 10.7 (policies for awarding credit) as well as the SACSCOC Credit Hour Policy Statement.

Credit Hour Guidelines 

Credit hours are assigned to courses by the program, department, and college from which they originate in accordance with the academic work and student learning outcomes required. The credit hour assignment for each course is reviewed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or Graduate Council. The registrar reviews all curriculum changes and ensures adherence to this policy. The credit hour is defined in accordance with federal, University of Louisiana System, and Louisiana Board of Regents policies as follows: 

  • The amount of student time investment that reasonably approximates one hour* of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for 15 weeks for one semester verified by evidence of student achievement (considered traditional instructional delivery); or
  • At least a reasonable amount of instruction and academic work occurs so that academic activities and student learning objectives for which credit is awarded is equivalent to traditional instructional delivery. 
  • Courses offered in formats such as internships, practica, clinicals, studio, lab, independent study, condensed time frames, or other non-traditional format must have appropriate rigor and student learning outcomes evidenced by student achievement for each credit hour awarded. 
  • Online courses must have equivalent learning outcomes to comparable, traditionally delivered courses and must have instruction that allows for faculty-student interaction and student participation in academic activities for each credit hour awarded. 

*In accordance with commonly accepted practices in higher education, McNeese operates on a 50-minute hour for face-to-face instruction.

With the growth in distance learning technologies and increases in the number of readings/special topic courses, condensed sessions, independent study courses, and other flexible course presentations, the customary method of determining course length for such non-traditional courses is to ensure all classes are of reasonable length and include both content and contact sufficient to maintain high academic quality and standards commensurate with credit hours awarded.

Academic Calendar 

McNeese also adheres to University of Louisiana System rules (C-I, VII. A.) regarding minimum length for academic courses, which state that for one semester hour of credit, a traditional lecture or laboratory course shall strive to meet a minimum of 750 minutes. Final exam periods may be counted as class time when computing required minutes. In general, at least one week of reflection is required for each credit hour earned. The basis for such certification of learning is a valid, credible assessment system that reliably determines whether a student possesses clearly identified, standards-based knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Prior to each academic year and prior to the course schedule being published for student registration purposes, the associate vice president for enrollment management and the registrar develop a proposed academic calendar and schedule. The proposed academic calendar and schedule includes the calendar of class meetings for three-credit hour courses which meet one, two, or three times a week as well as the start and end dates for electronically delivered courses and intensive, condensed term courses. The proposed schedule provides the number of class meetings for each month of the semester as well as the total number of meetings for the semester. Senior Staff is responsible for the review and approval of the academic calendar and schedule.


This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.