Credit Hour Definitions

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, which consists of its School of Medicine, Graduate School of Nursing and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, fulfills the following Federal definition of a credit hour:

Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (1), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than (1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hours of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or (2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Faculty and Student Notifications:
The credit hour assignments will be included in the appropriate student handbook and they will be provided to the Office of Faculty Affairs for inclusion in the orientation program for new faculty.  It will also be presented at relevant curriculum committee meetings to ensure faculty awareness.

School of Medicine (SoM) Course Credit Hour Assignments

Existing Curriculum:
Each grade-granting course is assigned credits based on the following process, which builds on standard educational benchmarking and local expertise in curriculum development and expectations for clinical work:

  • Year 1-2 foundational curricula: approximately 15 classroom hours and two out-of-classroom hours per classroom hour/semester (minimum 45 hours) = one credit.
  • Years 2-4 core clinical and elective experiences: one week = one credit.
  • Year 3-4 required sub-internship: one week = two credits.
  • The allocation of credits for less than 1 hour shall be in 0.5 increments only.

The Credit-Hours Work Group (CHWG) will present the slate of course credit hours annually to the relevant curriculum sub-committee of the Education Policy Committee (EPC) for review and endorsement, and to the full EPC at the request of the EPC curriculum sub-committee.

New Course Development: Newly approved courses will apply this metric to confirm appropriate credit.

Adjustment:

  • The CHWG will be convened twice annually in October (to prepare for any necessary changes that would be voted by the EPC in January) and approximately three months before the start of the academic year to review any need to adjust policy or procedure, and on an ad hoc basis throughout the year as time sensitive issues arise. These meetings will be called by the CHWG Chair, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education.
  • The credit-hours work group consists of the Associate Deans for Undergraduate Medical Education and Student Affairs, Chairs of the EPC curriculum sub-committees, Chairs of the Basic and Clinical Sciences Academic Evaluation Boards, the Registrar and the Financial Aid Director.
  • A sub-committee with expertise in elements unique to the MD/ PhD program will meet annually and as needed to address cred- it-hour issues related to that program. This MD/PhD CHWG will be comprised of the Dean of the GSBS, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, the Chair of the relevant EPC sub-committee, MD/PhD leadership, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and other content experts as necessary.
  • The policy will be posted on the EPC website.
  • After the annual credit hours meeting the policy and credit table will be distributed to course leaders, this will also occur at course leadership changes.

Credit Hour Audit Process
The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education in the SOM, the Dean of the GSBS and the Dean of the GSN will annually supply a list of all credit granting courses to the Associate Dean for Allied Health and Interprofessional Education Programs (the “Associate Dean”), who will randomly select two courses from each of the three schools for an audit to determine credit hour compliance with this policy. The Associate Dean will formally notify each of these three individuals concerning the initial results of this audit.  If there is a disagreement concerning the findings, the associate dean will meet with the individual for further discussion. The Associate Dean will report his final audit conclusions to the provost.

December 8, 2011, SOM updated 3.24.14, SOM updated 6.30.14

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