office of the provost and dean of faculties
The U.S. Department of Education posted new regulations, effective July 1, 2011, that: define a credit-hour; instruct colleges and universities to establish policies and procedures for assuring conformity to the new definition for purposes of determining eligibility for federal program funding; and, instruct the institutions’ accrediting agencies to “conduct an effective review and evaluation of the reliability and accuracy of the institution’s assignment of credit hours.”
The new regulations define a credit hour as “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:
- "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
- "At least an equivalent amount of work as required in 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." [Section 600.2, effective October 29, 2010].
At its meeting on January 13, 2011, the Council of Deans of Boston College adopted a proposal that:
- The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) in each School will clarify the credit-hour values that the School will apply to each form of direct instruction or its equivalent in its graduate and undergraduate academic programs, including courses, laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, thesis supervision, etc.;
- The Educational Policy Committee in each School will review all existing and all future proposed credit-granting activity for conformity to these credit-hour values, and will maintain record of its policies and review proceedings appropriate for reporting to the University’s accrediting agency.
The reports of the School's EPC may be found here: