All VCSU classes must document compliance with credit hour requirements as based on the Carnegie Unit, wherein students are expected to perform two hours of work outside of class for each ‘in class’ hour, for a total of three hours a week for each credit.


Essentially, that means documenting at least 15 hours of “guided instruction”—the ‘in class’ time—and 30 hours of other coursework per credit in a semester (a two credit-class would need 30 hours in and 60 out, a three-credit class 45 hours in and 90 out, etc.). Since the Department of Education defines an hour as 50 minutes in all instances, a typical one-credit class would involve 750 minutes of guided instruction in a semester, and 1500 minutes of other coursework. 


The table below outlines the number of minutes/hours required per credit hour:


Credit hours

# of F2F meetings PER WEEK 

# of F2F meetings per semester

# of “out of class” hours required

Total hours for the course


1—50 minutes

15 (750 minutes)

30 (1500 minutes)

45 (2250 minutes)


100 minutes

1500 minutes

60 hours

90 hours


150 minutes

2250 minutes

90 hours

135 hours


200 minutes

3000 minutes

120 Hours

180 Hours


In activity courses (for example, a lab class, or music ensemble) the number of hours/minutes per credit may increase, but should not be less than the number indicated above.


All syllabi will conform to current VCSU standards regarding syllabus checklists and/or any other relevant VCSU policies and procedures. In addition, each syllabus must include a statement of estimated time expectations for coursework in accordance with this policy to document the total number of hours spent on any particular class.


Faculty are encouraged to consult a course workload calculator, such as the one available online from Rice University, to accurately judge the time required for homework assignments.


In determining the time requirements of online classes:

  • Guided instruction should be compared to class time in a face-to-face class—anything that students would do ‘in class’ would count as guided instruction and should constitute at least 1/3rd of the coursework. 
  • Additional hours for homework (reading, written work, testing, research) should be outlined according to type of assignment/activity, in accordance to class type, and as measured against the DOE definitions above, presented in a format readily understandable to students.

Sponsor: VCSU Faculty Senate

Initially Approved: March 2015

Revised: Spring 2022