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Credit hours in a semester of college

credit hours in a semester of college

Full Answer

At the college level, professors expect students to prepare for their classes. The class sessions represent one-third of the total time the course requires for successful completion. Students should spend two hours of preparation time for each session. The preparation includes reading the text and completing homework for the course.

Some schools use the quarter system instead of the semester system. Quarters are significantly shorter than semesters; for example, a quarter hour is equivalent to two-thirds of a semester hour.

Learn more about Colleges & Universities

to Need the. You about Know in What Academic Credit Systems

So, here are the basic things you should learn about credits and grading system used in American colleges and universities.

Why is understand American academic credits important?

  • USA credits are different in comparison to credit systems used in Europe, or other parts of the world;
  • Credits determine if you need to take a preparation programme to meet degree course requirements;
  • Credits influence the GPA you graduate with.
  • Especially in the U.S., the number of academic credits a programme has may determine tuition fees for the degree.

6 top questions about credit types in the U.S.

1. What is a contact hour?

A contact hour includes any lecture or lab time when the professor is teaching the student, and they usually equal 50 minutes in real time.

3. What is a semester credit hour?

A semester credit hour (SCH) is the amount of credit a student earns for successful completion of one contact hour and two preparation hours per week for a semester. One semester credit hour equals 15-16 contact hours per semester, regardless of the duration of the course.

Basically, for a one semester credit hour course, you should invest one contact hour in class and two additional preparation hours each week that take place out-of-class. These can represent homework, fieldwork or practical courses.

4. How many credits does a course have?

Most colleges and universities award 3 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) (45-48 contact hours) for the successful completion of a study course. The number of credits for lectures, independent project work, laboratory time and internships vary depending on specific institution requirements.

A standard full-time study load is usually 30 credit hours per year. Typically, in order to graduate with a degree, universities expect students to complete:

  • 120-130 credit hours for a Bachelor’s degree
  • 30-64 credit hours for a Master's degree

Some universities use Semester Credit Hours to set tuition fees and scholarships for prospective students. During a semester, an international student has to take between 9 and 12 credit hours, depending on each college or university.

6. What are Quarter Credits?

Some universities in the United States use Quarter Calendar Credit Hours, where, the academic year is divided into three terms. In this case, a Bachelor’s degree usually requires a minimum of 180 quarter hours to complete instead of 120.

Semester credit hours and GPA

In the U.

0 to 4.0. A score of 4.0 is the equivalent of an A average, while 0.0 represents an F score. Each American Bachelor’s and Master’s programme specifies their own minimum GPA requirement for graduation.

The semester GPA of a student is calculated based on the final marks received for each course and the credit hours awarded by the programme for that semester. The final overall GPA is the average of all courses completed during the years of study.

Find out why the GPA is so important for your studies abroad.

How to convert American credits to European credits

ECTS is the most commonly used credit system in Europe. The major difference between the European Credit System ECTS and the U.S. College Credit System is that the first is based on student workload and the second on contact hours.

The student workload represents the number of hours needed to follow and prepare for a class, taking examinations, and preparing for these examinations.

credit hour


A credit in a school or college, usually representing one hour of class per week for one term.

cred′it hour`


one unit of academic credit, usu. representing attendance at one scheduled period of instruction per week throughout a semester, quarter, or term.


ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

Noun 1. credit hour - a unit of academic credit; one hour a week for an academic semester
course credit, credit - recognition by a college or university that a course of studies has been successfully completed; typically measured in semester hours

A semester is based on the idea that for each hour you spend in class, you get 1 hour's credit. Most courses are 3 semester (credit) hours--which means you'll go to that class for about 1 hour three days a week (or you might go 2 days for 1-1/2 hours--or even do the whole thing in one 3-hour session per week--but thats mostly for graduate courses).

Some courses willl be 2, 4, or rarely 5 hour classes. And that means pretty much the same--except you go to class that many hours and get that much credit. There is one thing that confuses this a bit--labs. Lab courses are usually just that--a science course (example physics) which are basically hand's on in a laboratory. These, however are (usually) 1-semester hour credit, but may require 2-3 hours of lab time to do th ework.

BTW--your grade point average depends on not only what grade you make, but on how many hours the course credit is--so a 4-hour course will affect your grade more than a 3 hourcourse.


  1. Vofowoqokoli

    I spent two months sleeping just 2-3 hours and the semester I had a daily sleep of 4-5 hours, so yeah, I"ve been sleeping

  2. Fohogeye

    Favorable teaching evals despite coming to class on four hours of sleep for most of the semester and finishing a dissertation

  3. Lujenafewehivi

    I"ve been done with the semester for 4 hours and I already feel uneasy about having so much free time

  4. Yefusexogu

    I knocked out 21 hours in one semester once while only going to four classes during the actual semester.

  5. Nezigubo

    Finished all my hours passed every semester, now for these damn finals : (

  6. Suhuhubebegoc

    I took 19 hours this semester and I finished with 5 A"s and 1 A-

  7. Gavopub

    I got straight A"s this semester!!! And took 18 hours

  8. Xumegogilide

    Am i crazy for wanting to do 21 hours next semester

  9. Heqodujeraja

    Finished the semester was 375 hours at internship

  10. Poginirahotu

    Wow I rlly slayed the semester and all those sleepless hours were worth it Now who wants to pull tf up HUH

  11. Golomajahor

    I like how at the beginning of every semester I always say I"ll for sure take 15 hours next semester, max and then I just register for 18.

  12. Nawaxici

    Half an hour until my last class of the semester!!!!: ) In 3 hours, it will officially be summertime!!!

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