Course Credit Hour Policy

The United States Department of Education requires that post-secondary institutions develop written policies regarding assignment of credit hours that conforms to the definition of a Credit Hour (§§ 600.2, 602.24, 603.24, and 668.8)

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine defines one credit hour as 15 instructional hours plus an average of 30 hours of out of class student work. The pace of learning and studying is not identical for everyone; it is understood that actual time on task will vary from student to student.

This formula will be applied to instructional terms of any duration. An equivalent amount of time on task (i.e. contact time plus out of class student work) per credit hour is required for non-classroom-based activities such as a laboratory or small group practical, clinical rotations, asynchronous online or distance instruction and other non-classroom modalities and delivery methods. Calculation of credit hours will be rounded to the nearest 0.5 credit hour per course.

In calculating credit hours, one hour of credit is awarded for:

  • 15 instructional hours with anticipated student activity of two additional hours per instructional hour for reading, preparing assignment, etc. which is equivalent to 45 hours of student activity
  • 30 course lab hours
  • 5 Learning Objectives
  • 1 week of clinical rotations, clerkships, directed study, independent study, and/or practical
  • 60 research hours


Student learning outcome equivalencies are to be based on documented qualitative and quantitative expectations for:

  • Time required of students to complete assigned learning activities
  • Time required of students to read and understand content developed by course/section faculty, excluding time required to read assignments in a course syllabus
  • Time required of course/section faculty to respond to student questions received through electronic mediums (e.g., email, online classroom, discussion boards, chat rooms)
  • Time required of course/section faculty and students to participate in online conference activities


  • Academic hour – 50 minutes
  • Learning Objectives – 4.5 Learning Objectives is equivalent to one instructional hour of didactic instruction.
  • Didactics – 15 instructional hours of didactic instruction (plus 30 hours of student out-of-class independent learning) = one semester credit.
    • Small group discussions and learning activities are considered the same as didactics for credit hour calculation purposes.
  • Labs – 30 formalized instructional course lab hours (plus 15 hours of student out-of-class independent learning) = one semester credit.
  • Clerkships, Directed Study, Independent Study, Practicum and Research – 45 hours of instruction and/or student out of classroom independent learning in any combination = one semester credit.

Course Numbering

001-099                      Preparatory courses

100                              First year medical courses

200                              Second year medical courses

300                              Third year medical courses

400                              Fourth year medical courses

This policy was reviewed and revised in March 2024. For assistance with policies and procedures, please contact Alexa Levine (