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Definition of a credit hour (UNO uses the Federal definition[1]):

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[2]of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks;
  2. Or 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 toward the awarding of credit hours.

Hour Definition 

One credit hour is equivalent to one-hour (50 minutes minimum) of lecture/rehearsal and two (2) hours of out-of class work each week. For all standard 15-week semesters of instruction, and for non-standard (condensed) and online courses the following contact times (minimums) are assigned for every one (1) credit hour based upon the specific type of learning activity:

Synchronous Classroom: 1 hour of contact time and 2 hours of out-of-class work for each week of Instruction.

Laboratory: 1-4 hours of contact time for each week of instruction.

Ensemble: 1-4 hours of contact time for each week of instruction.

Studio (applied instruction): 1-3 for 30, 60 or 90-minutes of contact time for each week of instruction.

Research/Field Work/Internships/Practica: 1-4 hours of contact time for each week of instruction.

Clinical: 1-4 hours of contact time for each week of instruction.

Simulation: 2-4 hours of contact time for each week of instruction

Other Activities: 3 hours of contact time for each week of instruction (Exam time can be considered part of contact time if an instructor chooses to count time spent on assessment as part of contact time)

Asynchronous Education (i.e. Online or Distance Learning): 3 hours of student work for each week. Student work includes reading, research, online discussion, instruction, and assigned group activities, preparation of papers or presentations, and exams.

Hybrid Classes (combination of synchronous and asynchronous education): Combination of face-to-face and assigned student work (see asynchronous) equivalent to 3 hours for each week.

Non-standard semesters (eg eight week; five week, etc): Contact hours will be equivalent to the contact time established for the standard 15-week semester.


Credit hours for all UNO for-credit courses are established as part of the course development and approval process. The process begins with the School of Music (see below) and then approval by the appropriate college(s) educational policy committee and Dean. The University Educational Policy Advisory Committee is the final approval of the number of credit hours for all courses, regardless of mode of delivery.  Credit hours are determined by course content/required student work that does not vary by mode of delivery. The determination/assignment of credit hours reflects the educational outcome of the course and the time required for a typical student to achieve the course’s desired outcomes. Any changes in credit hours for a course (reduction or increase) is considered a substantial change to the course that requires an updated master syllabus to reflect the change in content and approval by the University Educational Policy Advisory Committee.

School of Music process to propose a course including credit hour assignments

  1. Director has initial meeting with the initiator (faculty member or area coordinator) of the proposal to bring awareness of the policies and procedures to assign credits hours.
  2. Initiator submits the proposal online by logging into the Courseleaf Course Inventory Management System (
  3. Proposal is forwarded to full-time faculty for review.
  4. Director reviews and edits the proposal, if necessary.
  5. Draft is brought to a faculty meeting for further discussion and vote.
  6. Director approves the course and appropriate credit hours and forwards it to the Dean. The proposal then enters the workflow as described above.



[2]A class hour at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is typically 50 minutes.