Academic Policies

Credit Definitions

University Credit

University credit is the term used to identify all credit offered by the University of Arizona with the exception of correspondence credit and Special Examination for Credit. Only the grades of courses taken for University credit and by Special Examination for Grade are used in calculating the grade-point-average (GPA).

Unit of Credit, Definition

Utilizing the definition that an hour of work is the equivalent of 50 minutes of class time (often called a contact hour) or 60 minutes of independent-study work, university policy requires at least 45 hours of work by each student for each unit of credit. Contact hours required for specific types of courses are as follows:

  • At least 15 contact hours of recitation, lecture, discussion, seminar, or colloquium, as well as a minimum of 30 hours of student homework are required for each unit of student credit.
  • Workshops require at least 15 through 45 contact hours and the appropriate number of homework hours to comprise a total of at least 45 hours of work for each unit of credit.
  • Studios require at least 30 contact hours and at least 15 hours of homework for each unit of credit.
  • Laboratory courses must maintain a minimum of 45 contact hours per unit of credit.
  • Field trips are to be counted hour-for-hour as laboratory meetings.
  • Each unit of internship or practicum must require a minimum of 45 hours of work.
  • Off-campus courses, including online courses, may be assigned credit based on competencies or learning outcomes that are acquired through course work and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting. An equivalent of 45 hours of work by each student is required for each unit of credit.

Since it would be virtually impossible for a student to complete satisfactorily 45 hours of work in less than one week, the policy regarding the duration of courses maintains that a course must cover at least a one-week period for every unit of credit given. During the summer session, however, 6 units of credit might be given over a five-week period.

It is understood that, when the official university calendar deviates from these guidelines, that calendar shall prevail.

It is also understood that the hour requirements specified above represent minimums for average students and that considerable deviation in excess of these requirements may occur, particularly at the graduate level.

Also see the Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual External Link Definition of a Unit of Credit (pdf) format.

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