How Many Credit Hours is One Class?

How many credit hours is one class? It’s a question that every college student has asked at one point or another. The answer, unfortunately, is not always simple. Depending on the class and the school, the number of credit hours can vary.

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Introduction

Most classes at most colleges are worth either three or four credits. How many contact hours per week a class meets determines how many credits it is worth: A three-credit class will meet for about three hours per week, while a four-credit class will meet for about four hours per week.

How Many Contact Hours Are in a Class?

It really depends on the class and the school, but a good general rule is that one credit hour is approximately equal to one hour of class time per week. So, a three credit hour class will meet for three hours per week, on average.

However, this ignores all of the time students are expected to spend outside of class on things like reading, writing papers, and preparing for exams. For most classes, students should expect to spend two to three hours outside of class for every hour spent in class. So, a three credit hour class will require six to nine hours of work outside of class each week.

How Many Credit Hours Are in a Class?

The number of credit hours that a class is worth is determined by the amount of time spent in class and the level of difficulty of the class. Most classes are three credit hours, which means that you will spend about three hours in class each week. However, some classes, such as labs, may be worth more or less credit depending on how much time you spend in class.

You can usually tell how many credit hours a class is worth by looking at the course catalog or speaking to an adviser. In most cases, classes that meet for longer periods of time or that are more difficult will be worth more credit hours. For example, a four-credit hour class will usually meet for four hours each week, while a three-credit hour class will only meet for three hours each week.

The Difference Between Contact Hours and Credit Hours

Most classes that you will take in college will be 3 credit hours. That means that the class meets for 3 hours per week, over the course of a 15 week semester. However, 1 credit hour classes exist, as do 4, 5, and 6 credit hour classes. So, how are credit hours determined?

The number of credit hours a class is worth is based on the number of contact hours per week. Contact hours are the amount of time spent in class each week- listening to lectures, participating in discussions, working on projects, etc. Classes that meet for 3 hours per week (the standard) are 3 credit hours because students spend 3 hours per week in contact with their professor and classmates.

Classes that meet for more than 3 hours per week will have more than 3 contact hours per week and will therefore be worth more than 3 credit hours. For example, a 4 credit hour class would likely meet for 4 or more hours per week. A 1 credit hour class would likely meet for 1 or 2 hours per week.

The number of credit hours a class is worth does not necessarily indicate how difficult the class is. A 4 credit hour class is not automatically 4 times harder than a 1 credit hour class! The difficulty of a course is based on the professor teaching it, the material covered, and how much work is required outside of class.

Conclusion

In the United States, most classes are three credit hours. This means that you will meet for three hours per week over the course of a semester (usually about fifteen weeks). Classes that meet for fewer hours per week but last a longer period of time (such as laboratory classes) may also be three credit hours. Some very intense classes, such as humanities courses that meet for discussion four hours per week, may be four credit hours.