Credit Assignment Policy
Federal Definition of Credit Hour
The federal definition of “credit hour” is based on the Carnegie unit of academic credit and is defined in 34 CFR 600.2 (and further modified in 34 CFR 668.8 (k) and (l)) as “an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
- “one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- “at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”
New York State Definition of Credit Hour
The Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education further state in NYCRR 52.2 “Standards for the Registration of Undergraduate and Graduate Curricula” under the section on “Curricula and Awards”
“(4) A semester hour of credit may be granted by an institution for fewer hours of instruction and study than those specified in subdivision (o) of section 50.1 of this Subchapter only:
- when approved by the commissioner as part of a registered curriculum; or
- when the commissioner has granted prior approval for the institution to maintain a statement of academic standards that defines the considerations which establish equivalency of instruction and study and such statement has been adopted by the institution.”
General University-Wide Credit Hour Policy
All Fordham University certificate and degree programs are approved by and registered with the New York State Education Department. With the exception of the School of Law, all Fordham credit hour calculations follow NYSED guidelines, which are based on the federal definition of credit hour as outlined above (See Commissioner’s Regulation Section NYCRR 50.1 (o)). This holds true for the traditional on-campus courses as well as for the online programs and courses offered by the various schools of the University. With the exception of the School of Law and the graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business, all 3-credit courses meet for three 50-minute hours of instruction per week per 15-week semester, exclusive of examination periods, or they meet for two 75-minute hours of instruction for the same time period, again exclusive of examination periods. The graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business operates on a trimester rather than a semester basis, and the Law School complies with the ABA Standards regarding credit hour assignment. GSAS course schedules vary from meeting one day per week to two or even three days per week. This schedule is dependent upon the subject matter and the intensity of the work load. (Courses scheduled once a week meet for 110, 120 or 150 minutes each with the appropriate out-of-class preparation time in keeping with the definition above. Depending upon the subject matter and intensity of the outside work load, the courses that meet twice a week do so in a range from 45 minutes to 180 minutes twice a week. Language courses that are scheduled twice a week meet for 75 minutes each class. Biological Sciences courses can meet for 120 or 180 minutes twice a week, depending upon the course of study. Courses scheduled for three meetings per week do so for 50 minutes each.)
The sole responsibility for all aspects of the curriculum and degree program requirements at Fordham University rests with the faculty of each school, and each school has its own standing faculty curriculum committee, which is charged with the review of proposed new and revised courses and degree and certificate programs, including the assignment of credit hours associated with each review. This includes the assignment of credit hours to laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, student teaching, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, all of which is calculated according to the federal formula cited above, or, in the case of the Law School, according to the ABA Standards (See Credit Hour Assignment Policy for Graduate Division). The Fordham University Matriculated Student Status Certification form is used by all graduate and professional schools with the exception of the Graduate School of Education, which uses its own form of the Matriculation Student Status Form.
- The course catalogue for the entire University is available on my.fordham.edu
- The course schedule (matrix) for the entire University is available on my.fordham.edu
- The registration software used by Fordham’s Office of Academic Records (Registrar) is Oracle Banner.
Note: The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time undergraduate student status is 12 credits per semester and 6 credits per semester for half-time undergraduate student status. Undergraduate student status is monitored every semester by the University Registrar and the Director of Academic Records as well as by the Director of Compliance in the Office of Student Financial Services.
Specific types of undergraduate courses include tutorials and independent study. In instances where enrollment falls short of the minimum requirement for a course that is necessary for a student to take to progress in his/her academic program, an individual faculty member may work with the student in arranging meeting times that do not coincide with the published semester schedule. In all such instances, however, such courses must offer the minimum instructional time and minimum out of class student work per week in keeping with the credit hour definitions above, and the instructor must keep records documenting the same. Independent study refers to a faculty member regularly meeting with the student and directing his/her research progress within a specific period of time. Minimum credit hours are determined based on contact time with the instructor and time the student spends out of class doing research work, again calculated in keeping with the credit hour definition cited above. The instructor must keep records documenting the same.
The Graduate School of Social Service, the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, as well as the Institute for American Language and Culture, offer online and/or hybrid programs. The Gabelli School of Business and the Graduate School of Education offer online and/or blended courses, but not full programs through this modality.
Gabelli School of Business
All courses in the undergraduate Gabelli School of Business carry either 3 or 1 ½ credits, and both are in complete compliance with the federal definition of “credit hour”: the 3 credit courses meet 150 minutes per week for a fifteen-week semester. The 1 ½ credit courses meet 150 minutes per week for half a semester, thus earning half credit. The undergraduate division of the Gabelli School of Business does not award any equivalency credit.
Fordham College at Rose Hill and Fordham College at Lincoln Center
All lower level or introductory courses in the first and sophomore years carry 3 credits (with additional credits added for laboratory work calculated according to the approved formula for credit hour assignment). This credit hour assignment is based on 150 minutes of instruction per week for a fifteen-week semester. All upper level courses in the junior and senior years of the curriculum carry 4 credits, and the additional credit is earned by requiring three additional hours of class preparation per week in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction. Unpaid internships can earn one credit upon approval and registration for a concomitant internship seminar or alternative arrangement. Neither school offers any equivalency credit.
Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies
Courses in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies offer 3 as well as 4 credit courses in alignment with the policy followed by Fordham College at Rose Hill and Fordham College at Lincoln Center. PCS also awards one academic credit for a “life experience” workshop, which culminates in the submission of an approximately 20-page portfolio which is evaluated in terms of content and compared to that required by an existing course in that area. External documentation consisting of a written description or external evaluation by someone in a supervisory capacity are also required in order to earn equivalency credit for the specific course in question (3 or 4 credits).
Note: The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time and half-time graduate student status varies with the individual school. All schools, with the exception of the School of Law, comply with the federal definition of a credit hour as defined above, and most also award equivalency credits for certain academic activities outside the formal classroom setting. These matriculation requirements and equivalency policies are outlined under the individual schools below. Graduate student status is monitored every semester (or trimester) by the University Registrar and Director of Academic Records as well as by the Director of Compliance in the Office of Student Financial Services.
Specific types of graduate courses include online courses and hybrid courses. Online courses are offered without any on-site face-to-face meetings. They have the same learning outcomes and substantive components of a standard lecture/seminar course with an alternate delivery method. Contact time is satisfied by several means which can include, but is not limited to, (1) regular weekly instruction or interaction with a faculty member for the duration of the course, and/or (2) academic engagement through interactive tutorials, group discussions moderated by faculty, virtual study/project groups, engaging with class peers and computer tutorials graded and reviewed by the faculty member. In all cases, these courses meet the definition of credit hour and out of class student work as defined above. Hybrid courses consist of a combination of alternative delivery and on-site instruction, and their credit hour assignment is calculated according to the above definitions.
Gabelli Graduate School of Business
The graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business operates on a trimester rather than a semester basis, but this arrangement falls within the parameters of the federal credit hour regulations. Although the School does not offer equivalency credit for non-traditional/non-classroom work, there are instances where graduate students can receive academic credit for participating in an external professional internship. This only occurs under the supervision of a Gabelli School of Business faculty member as partial fulfillment of the requirements of a formally established credit-bearing course.
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the graduate division of the Gabelli Schools of Business is 9 credits per trimester and 6 credits per trimester for half-time graduate student status.
Graduate Division of the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies
In addition to the equivalency academic credit a student can earn for demonstrated “life experience” (See Undergraduate Division of PCS), equivalency credit can also be awarded by the graduate division of PCS to a student who is participating in an external professional internship. As in the graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business, this only occurs under the supervision of a faculty member and within a formally established credit-bearing course.
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the graduate division of the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies is 9 credits per semester and 5 credits per semester for half-time graduate student status.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
At the time of registration each semester, the GSAS Department Chair/Program Director assesses the academic related activity for which their students may be seeking equivalency credit. The Department certifies that the work conforms to the credit hour definition above and uses the Matriculated Student Status Certification Form to award equivalency credit toward forced half- or full-time status. (View the Credit Equivalencies Used by Each Department/Program).
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time as well as half-time student status in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences varies with the program. Most programs require 12 credits to maintain full-time graduate student status and 6 credits to maintain half-time graduate student status, but the following exceptions apply: programs in Biomedical Informatics, Biological Sciences, Classics, Clinical Psychology, Conservation Biology, Computer Science, Applied Development Psychology, English, Ethics and Society, Financial Computing, Humanities and Sciences, Latin American and Latino Studies, Medieval Studies, Public Communications, Philosophy, Psychometrics, Sociology, Theology, Urban Studies, and Economics require 9 credits to maintain full-time graduate student status and 5 credits to maintain half-time graduate student status. Health Care Ethics require 9 credits for full-time and 6 credits for half-time status. History requires 10 credits for full-time status and 5 credits for half-time status. Finally, the minimum requirement for full-time graduate student status in the programs of Management of Human Action and Operational Humanitarian Assistance is 8 credits, with 4 credits required for half-time graduate student status in those fields.
Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
Only one program in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education offers equivalency credits: the 60 credit counseling degree requires 600 hours of fieldwork. Students register for 3 credits of field placement for every 200 hours of work in the field.
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education is 6 credits per semester and 3 credits per semester for half-time graduate student status.
Graduate School of Social Service
Equivalency credits are awarded only to those students who are seeking academic credit in order to maintain full or half-time graduate student status in the School. Half-time equivalency per semester is awarded for students engaged in “research for dissertation” (View Fordham University Graduate/Professional School Matriculated Student Status Certification form); in the case of GSSS, this amounts to 6 credits per semester or, if the student is enrolled in the Nonprofit Leadership program, 5 credits per semester. Nine equivalency credits per year (5 in one semester and 4 in the other semester) are awarded to students for field placement work ( = 21 hours a week internship) when they are enrolled in the concomitant credit-bearing field placement course.
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the Graduate School of Social Service is 12 credits per semester (9 credits for the Nonprofit Leadership program) and 6 credits (5 credits for the Nonprofit Leadership program) per semester for half-time student status.
Graduate School of Education
The Graduate School of Education has devised a consistent credit hour equivalency policy which matches up a certain number of equivalency credits with concomitant enrollment in specific credit-bearing courses in order to determine full- or half-time status for its graduate students. View the specific breakdown; course credits range from 0 to 3 credits per semester, equivalency credits range from 3, 6, and 9 to 12 credits per semester. In the case of the zero credit Teach for America externship (TFA), which entails approximately 35 hours of teaching per week, the Assistant Dean checks with the school placement to verify the student’s hours and duties before awarding 12 equivalency credits, or full-time status, per semester. The same procedure is followed in the case of the 0 credit counseling internship in the Psychological and Educational Services program. The various department codes refer to different divisions within the School’s curriculum: C&T (Division of Curriculum and Teaching); ELAP (Educational Leadership, Administration, and Supervision), and PES (Psychological and Educational Services). The student must be enrolled in the specified course in order to earn the equivalency credits associated with it. Since this credit hour policy is specific to the Graduate School of Education, it uses its own matriculation maintenance form (View Graduate School of Education Matriculation Student Status Form), but in all instances it complies with the federal definition of “credit hour.”
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the Graduate School of Education is 12 credits per semester and 6 credits per semester for half-time student status.
Fordham School of Law
Unlike the other schools within the University, including the graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham School of Law operates on the basis of two 13-week semesters and an optional 7- week summer session per year. Its courses carry 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 credits, all of which are calculated in accordance and compliance with Standard 304: Course of Study and Academic Calendar as stipulated in the 2013-3014 ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. The section regarding the definition of "credit hour" is found in Interpretation 304-4, which reads as follows:
- "Law schools may find the following examples useful. Law schools on a conventional semester system typically require 700 minutes of instruction time per ‘credit,’ exclusive of time for an examination. A quarter hour of credit requires 450 minutes of instruction time, exclusive of time for an examination. To achieve the required total of 58,000 minutes of instruction time, a law school must require at least 83 semester hours of credit, or 129 quarter hours of credit."
- "If a law school on a semester system offers classes in units of 50 minutes per credit, it can provide 700 minutes of instruction in 14 classes. If such a law school offers classes in units of 55 minutes per class, it can provide 700 minutes of instruction in 13 classes. If such a law school offers classes in units of 75 minutes per class, it can provide 700 minutes of instruction in 10 classes."
- "If a law school on a quarter system offers classes in units of 50 minutes per class, it can provide 450 minutes of instruction in 9 classes. If such a law school offers classes in units of 65 minutes per class, it can provide 450 minutes of instruction in 8 classes. If such a law school offers classes in units of 75 minutes per class, it can provide 450 minutes of instruction in 6 classes."
- "In all events, the 130-day requirement of Standard 304(a) and the 58,000 minute requirement of Standard 304(b) should be understood as separate and independent requirements."
Please note that when the ABA updated its standards for 2014-2015, they eliminated this interpretation with no replacement. The School of Law continues to follow the 2013-2014 interpretation, and it does not award any equivalency credits.
The minimum requirement for maintaining full-time student status in the School of Law is 12 credits per 13-week semester for full-time student status and 6 credits per 13-week semester for half-time student status. A student’s status is considered ¾ time if he/she maintains 8 credits per 13-week semester.