All Ramapo College courses must adhere to regulations and Policies on credit hours established by the U.S. Federal Government, the State of New Jersey, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Following those policies, the College recognizes that a credit hour approximates an amount of student work typically required to meet the stated learning outcomes of a course, learning experience, or competency for which credit is awarded. Thus, the College permits maximum flexibility in determining credit-hour equivalencies afforded by federal, state, and accreditation regulations and policies.
- Ramapo College bases its procedures for student credit hours on the following regulations, policies, and definitions:
- Federal regulations set forth that the amount of student work typically required to meet the stated learning outcomes of a course, learning experience, or competency approximates one hour of instruction or examination and two hours of student preparation every week across a fifteen-week semester for every credit hour that the student is awarded.
- The guidelines of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education provide conventional calculations for specific course types. Those calculations are reflected below.
- A clock hour consists of 60 minutes, while a credit hour consists of 50 minutes. The calculations below are based on a 60-minute clock hour.
- A face-to-face 4-credit lecture- or seminar-based undergraduate course typically meets the following criteria:
- A minimum of 15 weeks of instruction or examination per semester. If the course includes a final exam, the final exam will take place during week 15. If the course does not include a final exam, week 15 should be devoted to instruction or some other organized learning activity.
- A minimum of one day of instruction per week;
- A minimum of 200 minutes of classroom instruction or examination per week;
- A minimum of 400 minutes of out-of-class student preparation per week.
- All other four-credit undergraduate courses should meet the following criteria or their approximate equivalents:
- Online courses:
- A minimum of 200 minutes of (online) instruction, examination, discussion, tutorial, or other appropriate learning activity; and
- A minimum of 400 minutes of out-of-class student work per week across 15 weeks.
- Studio courses:
- A minimum of 600 minutes of supervised and/or independent practice.
- Internships, co-ops, clinicals, field work, supervised teaching, and independent studies:
- A minimum of 600 minutes of supervised and/or independent practice and/or work per week across 15 weeks. A portion of this time may be used for classroom instruction and/or out-of-class student preparation.
- Undergraduate courses are generally offered with 4 credits. Undergraduate courses bearing fewer than four credits (other than laboratory courses) adjust their meeting and preparation times proportionately in accordance with the criteria for 4-credit courses. For example, a one-credit undergraduate course should meet the following criteria:
- A minimum of 50 minutes a week for classroom instruction or examination and
- A minimum of 100 minutes of out-of-class student preparation per week across a 15-week semester.
- Undergraduate laboratory courses may vary in credit but always meet the following criteria:
- A minimum of 150 minutes a week for lecture, discussion, and/or laboratory work and
- A minimum of 100 minutes of out-of-class student work per week across a 15-week semester for every student credit hour assigned.
- Graduate courses generally conform to the undergraduate examples above or their three-credit equivalents.
- Compressed terms (e.g., summer and winter terms) should include the total number of minutes of instruction, examination, and preparation of a conventional 15-week term in the examples above but in a more compressed format (i.e., double the number of minutes per week in a 7-week term). A course should meet a minimum of 1 week for every credit hour awarded.
- Students who wish to receive PLA (Prior Learning Assessment) or GLEX (Graduate Prior Learning Experience) credit must demonstrate that they have met the learning goals of the relevant courses. The student awarded PLA or GLEX credit will receive the appropriate number of credits based on the academic work that a hypothetical student would typically perform to receive those credits in a conventional learning environment.
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