Eastern University grants credit for academic work on the basis of the semester credit hour, which typically corresponds to forty-two (42.0) hours of faculty instruction over the course of fifteen weeks, plus a final exam period. Instructional hours in the University’s seven-week “block” term meets the same requirement in an accelerated format. The instructional requirements for a given course may be higher but never lower than this minimum standard, which is established in the federal and state requirements.

Definition of an Instructional Hour

Federal guidelines for an instructional hour are deliberately flexible. Guidance from the Department of Education states that “the regulations are grounded in commonly accepted practice in higher education, do not intrude on core academic decisions made by institutions and their accrediting agencies, and are completely consistent with innovative practices such as online education, competency-based credit, and academic activities that do not rely on ‘seat time.’” (from US Department of Education, Guidance to Institutions, 3/18/2011)

In keeping with these requirements, faculty instructional hours at Eastern University include traditional lectures but are not limited to them because, as the requirements recognize, student learning, curated by the faculty, can be achieved through a broad range of other types of student experiences. These experiences include but are not limited to internships, field trips, group projects, laboratory work, rich-media experiences, student research, and assessment experiences. 

Instructional Hours in Online and Blended Courses

Courses offered wholly or partly in online learning environments must meet the instructional requirements outlined above. For the specific online instructional equivalencies, contact the University’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at

Alternative Credit Pathways

The University currently offers several pathways to earn credit for student learning. For more on these options, see the course catalog for your academic program.