Scheduling Policies and Guidelines

All credit courses of the schools and programs of the Main Campus, the School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the graduate programs of the Medical Center are normally expected to meet for 50 minutes per credit hour per week during a fifteen-week semester; courses scheduled in shorter sessions (e.g. summer) must meet for an equal amount of time over the shorter period. Exceptions to this general rule will be allowed for academic activities that require reasonably equivalent work and are important to learning and teaching goals. Class schedules must be approved by the appropriate dean on the recommendation of the department or program and developed in accordance with the following guidelines.

Specific Guidelines

  • A minimum of two hours of science lab per week in a fifteen week semester generally counts for one credit.
  • Course meetings that are conducted as non-science labs, oral presentations, studio sessions, rehearsals or other course-based activities will generally be granted one credit for a minimum of 50 minutes of meeting time per week (or the cumulative equivalent over a semester) as long as they are designated as central to the course's learning and teaching goals in the syllabus.
  • Course-related activities that are not guided by an instructor (graduate TAs may serve as instructors with appropriate supervision) will generally not count towards the calculation of credit hours. Examples include language drill sessions and language labs; practicums and internships that are not designated to be part of specific courses, workshops, and other course-related activities that are not instructor-guided.
  • Exceptions to the 50 minute per credit rule will be allowed only when (i) the course requires academic activity outside class meetings sufficiently in excess of the normal expectation (two hours per credit hour per week) to compensate for the reduced time in class; and (ii) the rationale for the requirements is manifest in the course syllabus and clearly shown to be materially relevant to the course's learning goals. Such courses will typically be either research-intensive (where students are undertaking an independent course of research over and above assigned reading) or have a experiential or service learning component or be an approved tutorial; in any case, such courses will depend on close monitoring by the instructor of the nature, quality, and quantity of the work done outside scheduled classroom hours.
  • A syllabus for each course should contain a clear description of class meeting times and any approved non-classroom activities.
  • Reflecting the 50 minute per week per credit expectation, semester courses will generally be scheduled in time slots that are multiples of 50 minutes in duration. Partial credit courses will generally be taught in half credit increments in time slots that are multiples of 25 minutes. Thus, a 3 credit course will meet for 150 minutes per week, a 2.5 credit course will meet for 125 minutes per week, a 2 credit course would meet for 100 minutes per week, a 1.5 credit course would meet for 75 minutes per week, a 1 credit course will meet for 50 minutes per week, etc. Courses that grant 1.5 (or higher) credits that meet for only half of the semester (e.g. modules) should meet in regular time slots as if they were for twice the stated credit.
  • As noted in the Undergraduate Bulletin under "Studying, Grades, and Credit," [t]he academic learning of students is, in the University’s eyes, their most significant responsibility. Students should expect to study at least 30 hours per week outside of class (i.e., at least six hours per three credit course). Faculty design their courses with this expectation in mind, but evaluate students on the basis of their achievement.

Time and day patterns are as follows:

  • Three meetings per week:
    MWF, MTR, TRF for fifty minutes beginning on the hour from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Twice per week:
    MW, MF, WF, TR, TF for seventy-five minutes beginning at 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 2:00, 3:30, 5:00, 6:30, and 8:00.
  • Once per week:
    Any day of the week for one meeting. Friday is recommended as an option for scheduling one day per week classes. Courses meeting for one-hundred fifty minutes once per week should be scheduled with a corresponding course on the matching day (M 2:00-4:30 & W 2:00 - 4:30) and start at the times for seventy-five minute classes. Faculty members should teach no more than one once-per-week course per day.

Departmental Guidelines

  • Departments/Programs should schedule at least 10% of their classes on each day of the week (Monday - Friday).
  • Departments /Programs should schedule no more than 20% of their classes at any one hour for daytime classes (8:00AM - 6:15PM). Departments are encouraged to schedule at least 5% of their classes to start between 8:00and 9:30 AM.
  • Departments/Programs should review the current slate of courses in relation to these scheduling guidelines. They should pay close attention to the number of Friday classes scheduled and to the distribution of classes during the day. They should also review the length of each class to be sure that each one meets for fifty minutes per credit per week unless covered by one of the noted exceptions.
  • Departments/Programs should use the same distribution of class times through the days and times as used in the model term (fall-fall; spring-spring; summer-summer). Exception: departmental allocations should be adjusted to conform to the Main Campus Scheduling Guidelines. Please consult with the registrar before scheduling more courses during peak hours. Use the Course Count by Meeting Time form to determine the number of courses scheduled at each time last year.

Online Courses

  • As recommended by the Council of Associate Deans and approved by the Council of Deans, online courses are characterized by the following: 75% or more of course content is delivered using digital or differential access tools rather than face-to-face interaction.
  • Courses that are not place-based, including online and modular courses, are expected to have comparable contact hours to place-based courses by alternative means; contact hours will be determined by the instructor as reflected in the documentation of all student-engaged, instructor-led learning activities in the course. These activities include but are not limited to synchronous instruction; online tutorials and lectures; instructor-moderated discussion (e.g., video; in-person; discussion posts); student presentations; and other methods.  Please note: The contact hour does not include homework; travel time; dining/meal time; or similar social activities that are not (a) instructor-led and (b) tied to specific learning outcomes for that activity.


  • The University Registrar is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy and these guidelines through the regular scheduling process.

Recommended by the Main Campus Executive Faculty on: January 28, 2011
Approved for the Main Campus by the Provost.