MLC’s Credit Hour Policy

MLC has a credit hour policy that has implications for every course – including online graduate courses. Newly adopted federal regulations and Higher Learning Commission policies necessitate MLC specifying common practices and documenting them in course syllabi. This policy affects every MLC course instructor. Please read on to see how if affects you.

In compliance with the credit hour policy, course syllabi will need to be modified to specify how the course fulfills the credit requirements. Online courses must meet the same instructional outcomes as an on-campus course. Below are the parts of MLC’s credit hour policy that apply to graduate courses and a suggested template to use within your course syllabi.

Martin Luther College Credit Hour Policy Definitions: A class hour is defined as 50 minutes. The definitions below refer to the number of class hours during a semester that is approximately fifteen weeks long or an equivalent amount of time for terms of shorter duration. These definitions conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education.


  • One on-campus class credit is defined as: 1 class hour of direct faculty instruction per week and 2 class hours out-of-class student work each week.
  • One distance learning or hybrid class credit is defined as: an equivalent amount of instruction and student work leading to equivalent learning outcomes, as required for an on-campus class as defined above.
  • A course offered in a term of less than 15 weeks shall contain the same class hours, preparation time, content, and requirements as the same course or an equivalent course offered over a 15-week semester.
  • One graduate level credit hour is equivalent to an undergraduate credit in regard to the amount of work, but the type of work regularly involves more rigorous standards for discussion and application. In addition to educational activities outlined for undergraduate work (see below), graduate work also includes retrieving, reading, discussing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating empirical research and reports of research; applying research to practice; and conducting and reporting one’s own research.
  • Examples of undergraduate activities: assigned readings; participation in discussions; listening to or viewing required instructional presentations; finding, gathering, and reviewing resources; preparing and sharing papers, projects, presentations; collaboration with classmates around a given task; creating and implementing research projects; preparing for quizzes and examinations; and internships.

Syllabus Requirements
Each course syllabus should include specific information. The section of the syllabus titled “Course Methods” should be changed to read “Course Methods / Credits.” The description in the section should include the following:

According to commonly-accepted collegiate academic practices, success in this course requires work equivalent to an average of 112.5 hours of work. Coursework includes . . . (List the types of activities, readings, assignments, and assessments your students will complete as part of this course.)

All instructors are asked to include the above statement in their course syllabi and submit them to the Office of Graduate Studies by emailing them to J