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Academic Credit and Student Workload

The academic year at Purchase College comprises two 15-week semesters. The unit of credit is the semester hour, which represents:

  • 50 minutes per week (12.5 hours per semester) of instruction in lectures, seminars, and discussions*
  • 100 minutes per week (25 hours per semester) of instruction in studios, labs, field trips, and practica*
  • 150 minutes per week (37.5 hours per semester) of instruction in studios, labs, field trips, and practica with little or no outside preparation expected of students
  • 37.5 hours per semester of academic work in part-time, supervised independent studies

In credit-bearing courses that meet for fewer than 15 weeks (for example, short-term courses, winter session and summer session courses, and study abroad courses), the hours per week are proportionately increased.

*For each credit, students are expected to complete a minimum of two hours of academic work (study, preparation, etc.) outside of class each week. Some courses may require three or more hours of outside work each week for each credit. In particular, the BFA and MusB programs are intensive professional training programs and require students’ full-time commitment. Students in all majors are advised to limit their job and social commitments in order to give their coursework adequate attention.

Addendum for Fall 2020

Due to the need to prioritize health and safety and maintain appropriate social distancing on campus this fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, classes whose learning outcomes do not necessitate on-campus experiential learning will continue to be taught via remote instruction for the Fall semester, and faculty are adopting appropriate remote instruction tools to replicate and build upon curriculum offered in their courses.

For only those weeks of classes offered in a distance format, regardless of the subject of the course or original mode of delivery (e.g. lecture, studio), students are expected to complete 3 hours per week of course-related activities for each credit awarded in the course. These activities are normally devised and monitored by faculty, and may include listening to a lecture, watching an instructional video, posting to a group discussion board, reading an article, preparing assignments, taking online quizzes, etc.

Such distance learning activities, often referred to as Time on Task activities, are outlined by the NY Department of Education.

For more information on transitioning courses to distance format, please see this helpful information from the Purchase College Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (TLTC).

Updated: July 15, 2020


Related SUNY Policy: Credit/Contact Hour