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Student Handbook: Academic Credit Policy

Work Expected for Award of Academic Credit

The expectation is that a student will invest at least 45 hours of time in class attendance, preparation for class, exam taking, and other work for an award of one credit. The Academic Credit Policy is a minimum threshold and students should expect to put in more hours than required by the policy.

ABA Standard 310, Interpretation 310-1 provides that “fifty minutes suffices for one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction.” The Standard requires the equivalent of a 15-week period, which “may include one week for a final exam.”  Thus, the required direct instruction time per credit is 14 x 50 minutes = 700 minutes = 11.67 hours, which is rounded to 12 hours. In our 13-week, 55-minute class hour structure, the class time for one credit is 13 x 55 minutes = 715 minutes = 11.9 hours, which is rounded to 12. 

Courses with regularly scheduled classes

For a regularly scheduled class, students should expect to attend 12 hours of class (as calculated above) and spend at least 30 hours preparing for class for each academic credit. Thus, for a three-credit classroom course, a student should expect to attend 36 hours of class and spend at least 90 hours outside of class preparing. 

Courses without an exam

For courses that do not have a final exam, additional time will be added during the 13-week semester to make up for the final exam time. 

Seminar Courses

Two-credit Seminar courses are required to meet for at least seven two-hour sessions. Three-hour Seminar courses are required to meet a minimum of twelve two-hour sessions. The additional award of credit recognizes the amount of out-of-class time students are expected to spend preparing for class, conferencing with the professor, and writing their paper(s) for the class. 

Directed Research

Faculty are required to have at least four conferences with their students. The award of academic credit recognizes the amount of out-of-class time students are expected to spend writing their research paper. A minimum of 90 hours, including the four conferences, is required for academic credit. See DIRECTED RESEARCH for additional guidance.

Clinics

Students enrolled in Clinics should expect to devote at least 45 hours per credit awarded to class attendance, preparation for class, and work on clinic cases. Students should understand, however, that in some cases the time required may exceed the baseline of 45 hours per credit due to the demands of representing clients.

Externships

See the Externship Policy available on the Law School website under Externships. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may approve an externship for any credit amount between 3-12 credits. The appropriate work time requirement, equal to 45 hours per credit, would attach to any such externship. E.g., 135 hours for 3 credits, 180 hours for 4 credits, 270 hours for 6 credits, and 540 hours for 12 credits.

Co-curricular Activities

For co-curricular activities such as membership on a Journal or Moot Court Board, students should expect to devote at least 45 hours of relevant work for each credit awarded. Students will be required to keep track of their time via timesheets to ensure that the minimum number of hours are being completed.

Center Fellows

Students may receive one academic credit across a semester or academic year for academic work assigned by a Center Director for a Center Fellowship.  Students will only be allowed to enroll in the Student Fellows Program once.  This limitation applies across all Centers collectively.  Students will be required to keep track of their time via timesheets to ensure that the minimum number of hours are being completed.

Modules or other courses offered over an accelerated time period

Modules and accelerated courses must meet for an equal amount of time over the shorter time period and require the same out-of-class preparation as regularly scheduled classes. 

Courses offered entirely online and courses with an online component

Class time will be computed by assessing the “time on task” that an average student spends on watching videos, reading assignments, listening to podcasts, posting to discussion boards, participating in live online sessions and all similar work that is relevant to the learning and teaching goals of the course.

Professional Development II and III

Students are expected to invest at least 45 hours of time in class attendance, assignments, and self-directed learning for the award of one credit in Professional Development II and III. PD II and PD III are each one academic credit for the entire academic year, therefore, students will invest 22.5 hours per semester in each of these courses.

Other Degree Programs

Any degree that is awarded by the College of Liberal Arts or Business School will comply with the General University Credit Policy. This applies to the Master of Public Administration, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Taxation degrees.