How Many Credits are in Each College Course?

The number of credits in college courses is something that confuses most new students. It’s really not as complicated as it may seem. Once you get immersed in the college culture, you’ll soon have a handle on seemingly foreign topics such as this. For now, let’s take a closer look at the college credit hour and what it means for you.

About the College Credit Hour

There is no formal, standardized rule regarding the time equivalency of a credit hour in college. Each institution may measure credits a bit differently. However, the generally accepted rule of thumb says that each credit hour is equivalent to one hour spent in class per week. The majority of undergraduate academic courses are three credits each. Therefore, you can expect that class to meet for three hours each week, usually three days for one hour each meeting.

Should I Get a Bachelors Degree Online?

Sometimes the time is structured differently. A three credit night class may meet just one time a week for three whole hours, and there are classes that meet twice weekly for an hour and a half each. It is also a commonly held belief that out-of-class study time should be at least double the amount of time spent in class. So for that three credit course, you will likely spend six hours at the very least studying, completing assignments or undertaking other work toward retaining the knowledge learn during in-class lectures.

Credits Required for Graduation

Again, there isn’t a specific number of credits required for graduation across the board. Every school has their own criteria for each of their academic programs. To give you an idea of what you’ll need, the average number of credits required for a two-year Associate’s degree is approximately 64, while about 120 credits are needed to earn a four-year Bachelor’s degree. As mentioned earlier, most academic courses are worth three credits. Electives such as physical education, art or music normally count as one credit. Some majors are more challenging than others, and sometimes it’s possible to acquire what is known as a minor, or specialization, that adds credit hour requirements to your graduation total. It’s even possible to choose and complete two majors, known as a double major, essentially doubling your needed credits to graduate.

How Credits Work

This may all seem overwhelming, but there are tools to help you understand your credit hour requirements. You should have a course catalog, either in paper form or accessible online, that lists each major and breaks down the necessary course options by credits. Essentially, this is a road map to follow to your graduation. When all of the course requirements are completed for your major, you will be ready to graduate. Each program is made up of core classes that are required. These are the courses that make up the foundation knowledge in your major. Electives are additional classes that you choose, allowing you to personalize the focus of your major studies and to take classes that specifically appeal to you.

This is a basic overview of college credits. Knowing how the process works will help you to navigate your path toward graduation. The credits in college courses offer a guide for mapping out your semester schedule, both in terms of time in-class and study hours.