3050 Credit Hours and Credit Load

Original Date: 9/1/1995 * Last Revision Effective: 4/6/2015
Policy Contact: Vice President, Instruction


The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has established rules for how community and technical colleges determine course credit hours. These rules are based on the type of instructor contact hours and the ratio of those hours to the number of weeks in a quarter. “Credit hours” are defined as the unit by which an institution measures its course work. The number of credit hours assigned to a course is defined by the number of hours per week in class and the number of hours per week in out of class preparation. Bellevue College uses these rules to establish credit hours assigned to each course offered by the college. Credit loads are determined based on the credit hours for which a student enrolls.

Credit ratios for the three basic categories of instruction are:

  • Lecture/discussion, 1:1—One (1) hour of lecture or classroom discussion per week and approximately two (2) additional hours of out-of-class assignments per classroom contact hour earns one (1) credit hour. For example, a five (5) credit course would equal five (5) classroom hours per week plus substantial out-of-class assignments and study time.
  • Laboratory/applied learning, 2:1—Two (2) hours of laboratory work per week and approximately one additional hour for out-of-class assignments earns one (1) credit hour.
  • Work site educational experience, 3:1—Three (3) hours of work per week under the intermittent supervision of the instructor or under the direction of professional practitioners earns one (1) credit hour.

Exceptions are noted in the quarterly schedule (some classes are not scheduled in the usual college class periods.)

Credit loads are defined under three categories as:

  • Full-time credit load. A full-time student credit load is generally defined as twelve (12) or more credit hours. However, students who are enrolled under government-sponsored programs (e.g., financial aid, veterans, social security) should check with the appropriate agency’s financial services office for specific credit load requirements.
  • Part-time credit loads. A three-quarter load is defined as nine (9) to eleven (11) credit hours; a half-time load is sic (6) to eight (8) credit hours, and a less-than-half-time load is five (5) or fewer credit hours.
  • Overload. To enroll in more than eighteen (18) credit hours, a student must have a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. Students requesting permission to enroll in an overload may appeal to the vice president of student affairs if they do not meet this GPA requirement.

Revision History

Original 9/1/1995
Revisions 3/22/2005; 5/21/2009; 9/11/2012; 4/6/2015

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated April 6, 2015