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.
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.
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.