407.00 Definitions of Courses and Credits

Salish Kootenai College defines a credit hour as the amount of work required each week to achieve the intended learning outcomes of the course, equivalent to one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction per week and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class work per week for each credit.  Some courses have different requirements as necessary to meet the learning outcomes and these requirements are published in the course syllabus, but generally courses require a minimum of three hours of student work per week for each credit hour. Specific requirements for one credit hour for different types of courses are listed below.

Lecture Courses

A lecture course is a regularly scheduled class offered for academic credit. Generally, a student will spend one (1) hour in class per week for a ten (10) week quarter and also be assigned additional 2 hours per week of study or reading to be completed out of class to earn one (1) credit. Courses may also be offered in a condensed time frame, e.g. a 1-credit course offered over two 5-hour class periods. At the discretion of the instructor and as outlined in the course syllabus, students may be assigned coursework equivalent to class time, such as independent research or online work.

Activity/Studio Course

Courses are scheduled for 1 hour of class time for each class credit taught and additional studio hours are required as indicated in the course syllabus, i.e., 3 credit courses would be scheduled for three hours per week. Lab hours and options are determined by the Instructor and are published in syllabi. Students are expected to meet the additional hours outside of scheduled class time as determined by the Instructor and indicated in the course syllabus. The following are standard methods of meeting this requirement:

  1. Scheduled Lab Hours – Additional lab hours to meet with instructors may be scheduled during the academic week to discuss or receive assistance on projects for a specific class. Often these hours are scheduled back to back with the class.
  2. Field/Studio Labs are extended activities outside of scheduled class hours, and may occur on weekends, evenings, or other times (weekend, evening, etc.) when students are required to participate outside of regular class hours.

Distance Education

Distance Education courses, including online courses, do not require the student to be in class. The instructor determines the amount of student work expected in each online course in order to achieve the course objectives. Course credits are assigned based on the definition of a credit hour, equivalent to three hours of student work per week for each credit hour. The amount and types of student work are outlined in the course syllabus.

Laboratory Course

Laboratory courses are offered in fields that require the use of laboratory facilities and equipment (Chemistry, Biology, etc.). Two (2) hours of laboratory time are generally required for each credit earned. Laboratory classes may require reading and completion of assignments outside of class.

Independent Study Course

Independent study credits are granted to students for work on an individual basis in a specific area of interest and must be approved by the Academic Vice President and the instructor involved. In general, a project will represent 30 hours of student work for each credit earned. An ‘independent study” is not an alternative means of taking a standard catalog course. Students enrolled for independent study should be at least sophomore level and be in good academic standing. The course syllabus for an Independent Study must specify course objectives, learning outcomes, and teaching methods, and must be attached to an Independent Study Request. Introductory courses or basic requirement courses, such as English 101, cannot be offered for independent study. It is the responsibility of the instructor sponsoring a student tin independent study to determine the purpose, means, type of evaluation, and amount of credit to be earned. Credits earned, however, should be comparable to those of other academic classes. Students should not register for more than one (1) independent study course per quarter and may earn a maximum of five (5) credits per quarter by independent study.

Directed Study Course

A directed study is an existing course with an approved syllabus, but which, because of exceptional circumstances, a student is unable to take as part of a regularly scheduled class. A Directed Study is offered only when a faculty member who regularly teaches the course is available to facilitate the Study. Students who take a Directed Study must be in good standing and have a grade point average of 2.5 or better from Salish Kootenai College. Directed Study may not be substituted for lower division general education courses that are offered each quarter. The course syllabus for a Directed Study must specify course objectives, learning outcomes, and teaching methods, and must be attached to a Directed Study Request. Students in a Directed Study must meet with the instructor at least once per week and as necessary to accomplish the learning outcomes.

Seminar Courses

The purpose of a seminar course is the exchange of ideas or information on an advanced level. Seminar courses are most appropriate for students enrolled in a specific program, and should be limited to students who have completed more than half of the credits required for their degree or have achieved a level of expertise whereby they may benefit academically from the seminar format.

Field Experience Credits

Field Experience credits may be earned in fields where the student will benefit from on-the-job experience. Field experience credits may be earned at the rate of one (1) credit for every two (2) hours per week for ten (10) weeks of supervised work experience.

Workshops for Credit

Workshops can be sponsored by SKC but certain conditions must be observed to ensure that the workshops are meeting a definite need, are consistent with the standards set by the College, and are properly reported and recorded. All workshops must have prior approval by the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. An Instructor or other party interested in having a workshop offered for credit, should contact the Vice President at least one (1) quarter before the workshop is held. The workshop sponsor should then submit a workshop proposal following the guidelines listed below:

  1. Workshop topics should be those not normally covered in regular class offerings.
  2. The workshop should present material on a specific and limited nature which can be accomplished in a relatively short time.
  3. The amount of credit to be earned will be based on the formula of one (1) quarter credit for ten (10) contact hours. Contact hours mean time spent in direct instruction of any class activities. The hours need not be continuous or consecutive.  The workshop must be held in the time period of one (1) quarter. If the days between quarters are to be used, arrangements must be made with the registrar to ensure that the enrollment and completion data will be accurate.
  4. Before the workshop is approved, the workshop sponsor should inform the registrar of the grading procedures (pass/fail or letter grade) and the date the grades will be submitted. Credit will not be granted for any failing or incomplete grades.


Adopted: Policy has been in place prior to Sept. 2003
Revised:  8/21/13
Reviewed: 9/2020

Theme: Overlay by Kaira
Salish Kootenai College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Salish Kootenai College | PO Box 70 | 58138 US Highway 93 | Pablo, MT 59855 | 406.275.4800.