Semester hours, or semester credit hours, reflect the academic work expected during a typical 15-week semester. One semester credit hour is calculated as two hours of independent work and one hour of class lecture each week. The average full-time 15-credit hour semester would require roughly 45 hours of work per week, with different classes varying in total semester hours based on the number of credits they award.

Lecture or Laboratory Credits

Lecture classes are typically three credit hours, which amounts to 45 hours of in-class lecture and 90 hours of independent work, resulting in a total of 135 semester hours. Laboratory courses, which average four credit hours per semester, are treated as lecture courses with an additional one to two hours of lab time for each hour of in-class lecture. This would result in an additional 45 to 90 hours, bringing the total semester hours for a laboratory course to between 180 and 225.

Internships and Fieldwork Credits

Forty-five to 60 semester hours are allotted for each credit assigned to a fieldwork experience, ranging from internships to clinical rotations to student teaching. There is no division between in-class hours and independent hours as these credits are envisioned as wholly independent experiences. For your fieldwork to equal the credit hours of a lecture course, you would need to enroll in a minimum of three credits.