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What are credit hours?

If you have made up your mind to become an international student and pursue a degree in the United States of America, then it is also important for you to figure out how credits and grading system are granted at American college and universities.
What are credit hours?
Credit hours are the number of instruction hours that are scheduled per week  throughout a term. When a course is completed, a student’s performance is based on both—the course grade and a set number of credit hours.
At the undergraduate level students are required to study four years and minimum number of credit hours, that is, usually from 120 to 130 credits. The number of credits varies from one university to another.  At the graduate level, the minimum number of credit hours required is 30.
Some universities and colleges follow either a semester-based calendar system or a quarter-based calendar system. In the semester-based calendar system, an academic year is divided into two terms—the spring and the fall. Students normally take up to 16 credits each semester. In a quarter-based systems, an academic year is divided into three terms called quarters. Each quarter is of about 12 weeks. On an average, each course has 3 credits or sometimes more depending upon the number of hours per week.
What is a contact hour?
A contact hour includes any lecture that the professor is teaching to the student. In universities and colleges, students normally obtain credit hours based on the number of contact hours they attend studying per week in class.
What is a semester credit hour?
A semester credit hour is the amount of credit a student obtains for successfully completing of one contact hour and two preparation hours per week for a semester. One semester credit hour equals to 15-16 contact hours per semester, despite the duration of the course. Basically, for a one semester credit hour course, student should spend one contact hour in class and two extra preparation hours each week. The two extra preparation hours are the activities that take place out of class. These out of the class activities can represent homework, practical courses or fieldwork.
What is grade point average score?
In the United States education, credits are also used to calculate a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) for an academic year. GPA scores range from 0.0 to 4.0. A score of 4.0 is equivalent to an A average, whereas, 0.0 represents an F score. The semester GPA of a student is calculated based on the final marks received for each course and the credit hours for that semester. The overall final GPA is the average of all courses completed during the years of study.

This is just a brief understanding of credit system in the US education.  Further information about the credits of different fields of study can be obtained by visiting the web sites of the universities concerned.

What are credit hours? What are credit hours? Reviewed by Komal Ganjoo on March 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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