Policies & Procedures

Policy: Defining Credit Hours Awarded for Courses

Document Number: 1.019
Title: Defining Credit Hours Awarded for Courses Policy
Effective Date: 5/16/2018
Revised Date: 9/25/2018

General Policy

A credit hour at River Parishes Community College (RPCC) is defined in accordance with federal government regulation 34 CFR 600.2, which stipulates the following:

A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Following federal guidelines, RPCC awards one credit to students for satisfactory completion of one fifty minute session of classroom instruction for a minimum of three hours of work per
week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks.

For example:

  • Lecture Classes – A semester credit hour consists of the equivalent of at least one hour (50-minute period) per week of “seat time” in-class and two hours per week of out of class student work for fifteen weeks. Hence, a standard three-semester credit hour lecture course meets for at least forty-five contact hours per semester plus a minimum average of six hours of activities outside of the classroom per week for fifteen weeks.
  • Laboratory Classes – One semester credit hour consists of the equivalent of two – three hours of laboratory work per week for fifteen weeks.
  • One internship, practicum, or work based activity semester credit hour is at least forty-five hours of supervised work for fifteen weeks.
  • For classes offered in a shortened format, the hours are prorated so that classes contain the same total number of hours as if the classes were scheduled for a full fifteen-week semester.

The responsibility of protecting the academic integrity of curricula, programs, and class schedules rests with the Faculty, Division Coordinators, and Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs. RPCC may adjust its basic measure for awarding academic credit proportionately to adjust for variations in academic calendars or in formats of study or delivery as long as it meets the aforementioned criteria.

Policy Administration

  • Periodically, the Division Coordinators and Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs will review the policy and forward recommendations to the Leadership Team.
  • Course developers will ensure that the required quantity of student learning per credit is the equivalent to a minimum of forty-five hours of coursework over a fifteen-week semester through instructional activities that address and demonstrate student competencies in define learning outcomes. Instructional activities should draw upon practices approved by the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs.
  • The Registrar will assist the Division Coordinators to schedule classes in conformity to the RPCC semester credit hour policy each semester.
  • Classes that meet for more than seventy-five minutes consecutively will schedule a ten-minute break for each seventy-five minute segment.
  • Prior to beginning student registration, the Registrar will deliver an official system (Banner) report to the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs verifying that all proposed class schedules meet the college policy.
  • If class schedules do not meet the college policy requirements, the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs will direct the Faculty to coordinate with the Division Coordinators to adjust class schedules to conform.
  • The Registrar posts the policy to the website and includes it in the catalog.

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Campus Locations

Gonzales Campus
925 W. Edenborne Parkway
Gonzales, LA. 70737

Reserve Campus
181 Regala Park Road
Reserve, LA. 70084

St. Charles Campus
13145 HWY 90
Boutte, LA. 70039

Westside Campus
25250 Tenant Road
Plaquemine, LA. 70764


River Parishes Community College is committed to collaboration, accountability, respect & inclusion,
excellence, and sustainability.

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