Credit Hour Definition

Academic units offering courses for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign academic credit must adhere to the federal definition of a credit hour for the assignment of credit hours earned per course.

Federal Credit Hour Definition

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 activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. 34CFR 600.2 (11/1/2010)

Zero Credit Hour Course

Zero credit hour courses are typically in academic settings such as an internship, seminar, or colloquium course. The expectation is that there should be minimal work for the course outside of the class meeting time/contact hours. As such, it should be less work than that required for a single credit hour, based on the Federal Credit Hour Definition. 

Course Information

See Assigning Credit Hours and Proposing New Courses for complete information regarding the new course proposal process.

For more information, visit the following links.