Academic Catalog

Credit Hour Policy

Aspen University offers credit bearing programs and courses using a semester credit hour system. At Aspen University, one credit hour is defined as 15 hours of direct instruction and a minimum 30 hours of out-of-class student work for the course. This is congruent with the metric interval used by the Carnegie system, where 45 clock hours equate to one (1) credit hour.

Aspen University's definition of a credit hour is consistent with the federal regulation (CFRs 600.2 and 600.4), which defines the credit hour as “the amount of work represented, 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."

A three-credit course would require 135 hours or more of work effort. For Aspen, clock hours or seat time is calculated not by measuring the amount of time a student sits in a traditional classroom and listens to a professor, but instead it is calculated by measuring all the behaviors of the student, such as the time it takes to read pages of a textbook or online resources each week, the time it takes to write a discussion post and reply to several peers, the time it takes to create or read presentations and multimedia resources like videos or narrated slideshows, and the time it takes to type and edit written assignments related to each learning module of course content. For every course at Aspen, the credit count equivalency to clock hours has been calculated to be certain that the Carnegie system is being followed. This is also a requirement for accreditation purposes, as well as institutional standards at Aspen that our programs will be equally comparable in credit value to all other institutions in higher education.