Course Credit Hour Assignments
Rules governing assignment of course credit hours are set by the U.S. Department of Education. Each year, the Michigan Office of the Auditor General audits five Michigan universities to ensure their compliance and thus their eligibility to receive federal and state funding.
For lecture and recitation courses, the rules are precise. One class meeting of 50 minutes per week is assigned one course credit. However, universities are allowed considerable latitude for laboratory and field courses.
General practice is that one credit may be assigned to laboratory sections ranging from 50 to 170 minutes (one to three "hours"), two credits for sections ranging from 170 to 230 minutes (three to four "hours"), and three credits for those ranging from 170 to 290 minutes (three to five "hours").The variation in time-to-credit ratio is intended to reflect both the intensity of the laboratory experience and the time required out of class to develop reports. Field classes typically carry the same or fewer credits per class hour compared to laboratory classes since time is often spent in transit and in other relatively low intensity learning activities.