Credit Hours, Course Load and Study Expectations

In general, students receive one hour of credit for each hour required in class per week during a 15-week semester. However, classes with labs, such as sciences, or other courses may require additional in-class or out-of-class hours of formal involvement to expand the students’ learning. The time designated for courses might involve working directly with a faculty member or more independently depending on the best environment and methods for learning to occur. When students complete a course successfully, they earn the number of credit hours listed on the course description page of the website.

Note that there may be a difference between credit hours and the hours of contact that are required for each course. This could make a significant difference in your choice of courses and how you are able to plan your schedule.

For more information about credit and contact hours, please visit the student handbook.


Choosing Your Number of Credits for Each Semester

A course load is the total number of credit hours a student is attempting in a semester or session.

  • A full-time load is at least 12 credit hours. Schoolcraft College is dedicated to students’ success. Students must obtain credit hour overload permission from an academic advisor before registering for more than 18 credit hours in the fall and winter semesters. The spring and summer semesters may also require special permissions, as well, depending on the course load.
  • The advisor will consider past academic performance as well as other factors when issuing a credit hour overload.

PLEASE NOTE: To defer student loans you must be enrolled in 6 credit hours (half-time) or more per semester. For more information please visit the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid deferment-forbearance eligibility page or contact your loan servicer.


Planning Your Study Time

Learning is a partnership between the students and faculty which requires a level of commitment and dedication.  Students are expected to spend time outside of  class meeting times to master the concepts and skills found in their course work. Based upon the Carnegie model of doubling the number of “in-class” (or contact) hours with the number of hours required for studying, here are some guidelines on what to expect:

  • If you are enrolled in a 15 week course worth three (3) credit hours, you should plan to spend at least six (6) hours per week preparing and studying for this course. If your class requires more contact hours, then you will want to plan for more study time.
  • If you are enrolled in a 12 week course worth three (3) credit hours, you should plan to spend at least eleven to twelve (11-12) hours per week preparing and studying for this course with adjustments made for additional contact hours, as needed.
  • If you are enrolled in a 7 week course worth three (3) credit hours, you should plan to spend at least nineteen (19) hours per week preparing and studying for this course.
  • If you are enrolled in a 5 week course worth three (3) credit hours, you should plan to spend at least twenty-seven (27) hours per week preparing and studying for this course.
  • We offer other course durations that follow similar patterns.

The time commitments and expectations may be greater than the guidelines above for distance learning courses as there are no formal class meetings so it is essential to plan for those same allotment of times on your own.

Remember, if the credit hours include courses that have additional hours of contact that expands a student’s knowledge (such as in labs, clinical, or other experience-based learning), more study time will be needed.