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D50: Assignment of Credit Hours

Approved by: Faculty Senate
Effective: April 24, 2018
Responsible FS Committee: Faculty Senate Policy Committee
Office Responsible for Administration: Office of the Registrar

Revisions to the Policy Rationale, Policy Statement, and Applicability sections of this document must be approved by the full Faculty Senate.

Policy Rationale

The University of New Mexico (UNM) evaluates a student's progress toward a degree in terms of semester credit hours. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree requirements are approved by University faculty in accordance with Faculty Handbook Policy A50 "The Faculty's Role in the University's Academic Mission" and are listed in the applicable course catalog.

Policy Statement

UNM’s assignment and award of credit hours conforms to commonly accepted practices in higher education in accordance with federal regulations 34 CFR 602.24(f).

The minimum requirements for assigning one (1) semester credit hour consists of one (1) 50-minute period of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two (2) hours of out-of-class student work each week of the semester; or at least an equivalent amount of work as established by the degree granting college.


All academic UNM units, including the Health Sciences Center and Branch Community Colleges.

Revisions to the remaining sections of this document may be amended with the approval of the Faculty Senate Policy Committee and Operations Committee in consultation with the responsible Faculty Senate Committee listed in Policy Heading.


Classroom or direct faculty instruction. This consists of direct instruction or guided interaction, which includes, but is not limited to, in person or online lectures, seminars, discussions, art and design studios, supervised group work, and examinations.

Equivalent amount of work can include, but is not limited to, activities such as laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, ensemble music, and other academic work.

Out-of-class student work. This consists of time students spend outside of classroom or direct faculty instruction to fulfill course objectives, which includes but is not limited to, reading assignments, working out problems, preparing for exams, online and face-to-face group work, writing paper(s), and working on project(s).

Who should read this policy

  • Faculty members
  • Academic administrators

Related Documents

Regents' Policy Manual

Faculty Handbook

UNM Course Catalogs


Direct any questions about this policy to Office of the Registrar.


Faculty members including part-time instructors and teaching, research, and graduate assistants acting in a faculty capacity are responsible for ensuring that the amount of contact time and independent work time expected of students meets the minimum requirements listed above in the Policy Statement section. Faculty will include the required hours of work on the course syllabi each semester.


  • April 24, 2018 Approved by Faculty Senate