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Course Component and Credit Hour Guidelines

A course component is a term used in the scheduling system to classify the various types of courses available at UMBC.   Course components are determined by the academic departments/scheduling coordinators and maintained by the Registrar’s Office.

To ensure a consistent application of credit hours as outlined in the UMBC Credit Hour Policy, the following course component guidelines are provided.

Lecture

There are generally two types of lectures offered at UMBC.  The first type of lecture is typically offered in a larger classroom setting.  The predominate mode of instruction in large lecture courses is usually lecture-oriented. A second type of lecture is generally offered in a smaller classroom setting and is more interactive in nature. In smaller lecture courses, enrollment is typically limited to allow for greater focus on students’ critical reflection and exchange of ideas. Regardless of size, lecture courses may include a variety of pedagogical activities.

Seminar

Similar to a small lecture, enrollment in a seminar is generally limited in size to allow for greater focus on students’ critical reflection and exchange of ideas. A seminar is usually an academic meeting in which faculty deliver content on a topic or on related topics and then address student questions in an interactive format using a variety of pedagogical activities. 

Discussion

A discussion is generally a non-credit bearing course attached to a lecture course, or section of a larger course, and designed solely for group discussion. Discussion sections generally contain fewer students than the lecture course to which they are linked. The predominate mode of instruction is based on structured interchanges between students.

 

Credit Hour Guidelines: Lecture – Seminar – Discussion
Credits Faculty instructional time per week Faculty instructional time per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Total instructional time and out of class student work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

1 50 minutes 750 minutes

(12.5 hours)

100 minutes 1500 minutes

(25 hours)

2250 minutes

(37.5 hours)

2 100 minutes

1500 minutes

(25 hours)

200 minutes

3000 minutes

(50 hours)

4500 minutes

(75 hours)

3 150 minutes 2250 minutes

(37.5 hours)

300 minutes 4500 minutes

(75 hours)

6750 minutes

(112.5 hours)

 

Laboratory

Laboratory courses generally meet in a defined physical setting for the purpose of applying the methods and principles of a discipline. Laboratory courses may be offered as a stand-alone course or as a supplement to another course component such as a lecture. Instruction in laboratory courses may include group instruction, individualized instruction and/or hands-on exploratory activities in real-world or simulated settings.

 

Credit Hour Guidelines: Laboratory
Credits Faculty instructional time per week Faculty instructional time per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Total instructional time and out of class student work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

1 100 minutes 1500 minutes

(25 hours)

50 minutes 750 minutes

(12.5 hours)

2250 minutes

(37.5 hours)

2 200 minutes 3000 minutes

(50 hours)

100 minutes 1500 minutes

(25 hours)

4500 minutes

(75 hours)

3 300 minutes 4500 minutes

(75 hours)

150 minutes 2250 minutes

(37.5 hours)

6750 minutes

(112.5 hours)

 

Clinical

Clinical based instruction generally occurs outside the institutional setting or in an actual clinical laboratory setting and may involve work with outside partners who receive professional services from students supervised by faculty members. As an example, field placements through the Social Work or Education programs may use clinical as the course component.

 

Credit Hour Guidelines: Clinical
Credits Faculty instructional time per week Faculty instructional time per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Minimum Out of Class Student Work per week Minimum Out of Class Student Work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

Total instructional time and out of class student work per semester

(based on 15 weeks)

1 150 minutes 2250 minutes

(25 hours)

0 minutes 0 minutes 2250 minutes

(37.5 hours)

2 300 minutes 4500 minutes

(50 hours)

0 minutes 0 minutes 4500 minutes

(75 hours)

3 450 minutes 6750 minutes

(112.5 minutes)

0 minutes 0 minutes

6750 minutes

(112.5 hours)

 

Practicum, Internships, Field Studies

Practicum, internships, and field studies are course component types in which a faculty member regularly interacts and directs student outcomes with periodic contact, but where the actual learning environment takes place off-campus at an approved site. The learning experience will typically involve a site supervisor or preceptor and directed activity/learning will occur outside of a lecture setting. Minimum credit hours are determined based on faculty instructional time and student outside work time. The faculty member or program director responsible for the experience is required to keep records of amount of supervised work/instructional time and student outside work time so that contact hours can be calculated.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are a course component types in which a faculty member regularly interacts and directs student outcomes with periodic contact. Minimum credit hours are determined based on faculty instructional time and student outside work time. Faculty members are required to keep records of the meeting times and student work assigned so that contact hours can be calculated. 

Research

Research courses (undergraduate and graduate) are a component type in which a specific interest or academic discipline will be the focus without the requirement of an actual dissertation or thesis. The faculty member and student(s) mutually negotiate the nature of the research. Students receive course credit for engaging in intensive, focused research on a concentrated topic related to their academic studies under the guidance of an instructor, typically culminating in an intellectual product. Minimum credit hours are determined based on faculty instructional time and student outside work time.

Thesis Research

The development of formal thesis presenting the results of research submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of an advanced degree. The process requires intensive interaction between the student candidate, thesis advisor, and supplemental committee members.