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Credit Hour Policy and Procedure

This policy is designed to assure consistency in awarding academic credit at Hardin-Simmons

University in conformity with commonly accepted standards in higher education and in accordance

with federal regulations. In the following definition, HSU utilizes the Carnegie Unit, a generally

recognized measurement for awarding academic credit, as a means to express the institution’s

definition of a credit hour.

Definition of credit hour

Using the Carnegie Unit as a commonly accepted standard, Hardin-Simmons University defines a

credit hour, recorded by the university as a semester hour, in terms of instructional time and

associated class preparation. Each credit hour reflects one hour of instructional time per week for

a total of 15 instructional hours per semester. Graduate students are expected to spend a minimum

of 3 hours in class preparation for each credit hour. Thus students are expected to spend a

minimum of approximately 4 hours engaged in learning per week per semester for each credit


The application of this definition of credit hour must be equivalent throughout the curriculum.

Faculty are responsible for assuring that at least a reasonable approximation of a comparable

amount of work consistent with this definition of credit hour is represented in all academic

activities for which the university awards academic credit, including, but not limited to, distance

education, blended courses, practice, internships, laboratory work, travel courses, and studio work.

In establishing equivalency, faculty should consider course content, method of delivery,

pedagogical methods, and measurement of intended student learning outcomes, academic

calendars, degree levels, and other factors to assure equivalency.

The university grants credit only for courses approved by the academic policies established by the

university and taught by faculty approved by the university. The process for approving course

credit involves individual faculty members developing a new course proposal which is then vetted

by the department and the curriculum committee of the appropriate college or school. If approved,

the course proposal is sent to the Academic Committee of the University for discussion and final

approval. In some cases the protocol requires approval of the University faculty. The process for

approving course credit for graduate classes follows the same procedure with the exception that

once approved by department and college/school, the course is sent to the Graduate council for

discussion and approval, and finally to the Graduate Faculty for approval.

Course Levels

In all graduate programs, at least one-half of the courses must be 6000 level courses

Maximum Course Load

Students wishing to enroll for more than nine semester hours should consult with the academic

advisor to consider whether the workload will negatively affect academic performance.

Students wishing to take more than 12 hours of graduate study in a long term or more than six

hours in a summer term must receive approval of the advisor and the dean of graduate studies.

Transfer Credit

Work completed before the student applies for admission at HSU, or completed at another

institution after admission to HSU, may transfer if, 1) it is graduate work from a regionally

accredited institution of higher education; 2) an official transcript of the work is on file in the

Office of Graduate Studies; 3) the work was completed during the last 10 years; and 4) it is

approved by the appropriate program or department. A maximum of 12 semester hours of approved

graduate work may be transferred provided the student did not complete the previous degree. A

maximum of six semester hours may be transferred from a previously completed degree.