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Credit Hour Policy

The University of Mississippi Medical Center measures course work by semester credit hours. The number of credit hours assigned to a course represents faculty directed instruction. Additionally, students are expected to spend at least two to four hours in student-directed learning for each hour of faculty directed instruction depending on the course level.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the institution's governing board, requires a minimum of 2,250 minutes of faculty-directed instruction per three semester hour course which may include final exam time.

The Bower School of Population Health awards credit for coursework in accordance with the policies set forth by IHL and UMMC. The SoPH credit hour policy utilizes the following formula for all courses to determine credit hour assignments: 


Courses comprised of lecture based learning environments have students who met in person with a faculty member are awarded 1 credit hour for a minimum of 50 contact minutes per week. The ratio for lecture courses of contact hour to credit hour is 1:1 (1 credit hour equals 12.5 contact hours per semester).

Courses involving practical learning under direct supervision of a faculty member with students conducting laboratory experiments, teaching or clinical practicums, research experiences, dissertation work, or other academic work lead to the award of credit hours. The minimum contact time per credit hour for such courses is higher than lecture-based courses. For such courses, 1 credit hour is awarded for a minimum of 100 to 300 contact minutes per week based on program ratios. The ratio for laboratory research, practicums, dissertation work, or other academic work leading to the award of credit hours range from 2:1 to 6:1 (1 semester credit hour equals 25 to 75 contact hours per week).

Credit hours awarded for laboratory rotations, practicum, or thesis/dissertation work are awarded within a range. The awarding of variable credit hours within a course from semester to semester is appropriate and an accurate measure based on the amount of academically engaged time and amount of work expected. For example, doctoral students will be awarded one credit hour for laboratory rotation courses during one semester, but be awarded three credit hours in another. In this case, the student may only work in one laboratory during the first semester, but work in three laboratories during the second semester. Similarly, in dissertation research courses, students may be awarded six credit hours during a semester in which they are booked for traditional lecture-based courses, while be awarded nine credit hours during another semester when they are solely focused on writing their dissertation or performing laboratory experiments directly related to their dissertation work.