Credit Hour Policy Resources

Effective July 1, 2011, all candidate and accredited institutions are required to comply with federal regulations concerning the definition and assignment of credit hours.  In addition, accrediting agencies are required to evaluate compliance as part of comprehensive reviews. 

The WASC Commission has adopted a Credit Hour Policy which will apply to all WASC institutions, effective Sept. 2, 2011.

Institutions that are in the process of revising or expanding their credit hour policies may wish to review the sample policies provided below, as examples of good Credit Hour policies.  

Please also be advised that the Commission has asked WASC staff to begin integrating evaluation of institutional credit hour policies into most visits being conducted this fall.  Institutions will be asked to provide the following documents and information to be reviewed by the visiting team:

  • Institution’s policy on the credit hour
  • An explanation of the institution's process for periodic review of the application of this policy, to assure that credit hour assignments are accurate and reliable (for example, program review, process for new course approval, periodic audits)
  • A list of the kinds of courses that are offered that do not require the standard amount of in-class seat time designated in the WASC policy (for example, online and hybrid courses, laboratory courses, studio work, clinical work, independent study, and internship courses)
  • A course schedule showing the weeks, hours and days that courses meet.
  • Three sample course syllabi (or the equivalent) for each kind of course that does not meet for the standard amount of in-class seat time required in the policy. 

Teams will review this material in advance of the visit and will report their findings in an appendix to the team report.  If the team finds that there are issues with the institution's policy or its application, it may make a related recommendation in the team report.

If you have any questions, please contact your designated staff liaison for more information.