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Definition of Credit Hours
The institution has policies and procedures for determining the credit hours awarded for courses and programs that conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education and to Commission policy. (See Commission policy "Credit Hours.")

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UAB has policies and procedures that are designed to ensure that credit hours are only awarded for courses and programs that conform to the required practices and policy.


UAB awards course credit only for successful completion of a course that has been approved by all necessary curriculum committees in a department, college, or school. It is UAB’s policy that all such committees use the definition of “credit hour” in the regulations of the U.S. Department of Education under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Further, UAB complies with the definition of “credit hour” found in the policies of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, which defines that term as “[a] unit of measure representing the time and activity required for one hour of credit. Usually, this involves the equivalent of 50 minutes of instruction each week for a semester, trimester, or quarter.” 

The UAB definition of credit hour is as follows:

"[A]n 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 –

  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."

This definition should be used in all courses at all levels (graduate, professional, and undergraduate) that award academic credit (i.e., any course that appears on an official transcript issued by UAB) regardless of the mode of delivery including, but not limited to, self-paced, online, blended, lecture, seminar, laboratory, and internship.

This definition should also be applied to new courses as well as revisions to existing courses requiring approval by a curriculum committee.

This credit hour policy is applied to traditional courses which have a contact hour basis as follows:

Semester Hours Clock Hours/Term with Examination Weeks per Term Hours Minutes per Week Minutes / Week Terms
5 60.83 14 4 hrs 10 min 250 Fall and Spring
4 53.83 14 3 hrs 40 min 220 Fall and Spring
3 37.5 14 2 hrs 30 min 150 Fall and Spring
2 25.83 14 1 hrs 40 min 100 Fall and Spring
1 14.16 14 0 hrs 50 min 50 Fall and Spring
3 38.25 13 2 hrs 45 min 165 14-week Summer
4 56.5 9 6 hrs 360 10-week Summer
3 38.5 9 4 hrs 240 10-week Summer
2 25 9 2 hrs 30 min 150 10-week Summer
1 12.25 9 1 hrs 5 min 65 10-week Summer
4 54 6.5 8 hrs 480 Summer A & B
3 41 6.5 6 hrs 360 Summer A & B
4 52 4 12 hrs 30 min 750 May Session
3 42 4 10 hrs 600 May Session

The course scheduling system enforces this by requiring course, which has credit hour associated with it, to utilize a section code (i.e., time slot) with the requisite contact hours.

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