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Differential Contact/Credit Hour Formula for Courses


At its April 18, 1989, meeting, the Senate approved a motion to allow a differential of up to one hour between credit and contact hours in 400- and 500- level semester courses. During the Senate debate, the chair of SCEP indicated that the intention of the Committee's motion was to apply to graduate students and programs only. The motion leaves it to the judgment of individual units to determine whether a differential is educationally warranted.

Since 500 level courses are restricted to graduate enrollment only, departments wishing to take advantage of the differential should establish the course by adding one credit hour more than is indicated for contact hours per week (e.g., a course will be 4 credit hours, but meet 3 lecture hours weekly for fifteen weeks, totaling 45 contact hours.) No special justification on the course outline is necessary.

For 400 level courses, it is recommended that units limit use of the differential credit to graduate students only. Using the above contact hour model (with 45 lecture contact hours), graduate students may receive 4 credit hours while undergraduates would receive 3 credit hours for the same course.
No further justification of the variable credit hours for graduates and undergraduates is required on the Course Outline Form.

If a unit wishes to allow a credit/contact hour differential for undergraduate students in any particular course, and the line college has not specifically prohibited this practice, SCEP will require special justification and review.

Any questions about this practice should be directed to the Office of Programs and Academic Assessment at ext. 3-3463.