Texas Tech University

Determination of Credit Hours for Course Work

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Title

Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework and Other Academic Study (ABA Standard 310)

Category

Academic Policies

Date Approved and/or Revised

March 23, 2016 (adopted), April 19, 2017 (revised), June 1, 2019 (revised)

Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework.

As required by Standard 310 of the American Bar Association's Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, Texas Tech University School of Law has adopted the following policy and procedures for determining the appropriate number of credit hours for law school coursework and other areas of academic study and for ensuring compliance with the standard.

  1. Definition of Credit Hour

    One “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:

    1. not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work, including such activities as reading, reviewing, outlining, studying, or otherwise working on materials and assignments for the course, per week for fifteen weeks (including the final exam), which totals 42.5 hours, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

    2. at least an equivalent amount of work as required in subparagraph (A) of this definition for other academic activities, including simulation, field placement, clinical, co-curricular, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. Factors bearing on the equivalence of work include the rigor of the experience, nature of the tasks involved, and quality and quantity of supervision.

    3. For the purpose of this rule, fifty minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction equates to one “hour.”

  2. Guidance for Instructional Time and Student Out-of-Class Work

    1. A. During the Fall and Spring Semesters, the following will apply to credit-bearing courses and other academic activity, in accordance with ABA Standard 310:

      1. For a 1-Credit Course, the instructor will teach for 50 minutes one time per week and will require a minimum of two hours of student out-of-class work.

      2. For a 2-Credit Course, the instructor will teach for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes per week and will require a minimum of 4 hours of student out-of-class work.

      3. For a 3-Credit Course, the instructor will teach for a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week and will require a minimum of 6 hours of student out-of-class work.

      4. For a 4-Credit Course, the instructor will teach for a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes per week and will require a minimum of 8 hours of student out-of-class work.

      5. For other academic study leading to the award of credit, including clinics; field placements; independent research; law review and other journals; advocacy competition teams; and Board of Barristers, at least an equivalent amount of work as described above is required.

    2. The Summer Semester typically is six weeks. The Fall and Spring Semester calculations described above are modified to accommodate the shorter summer semester. Summer courses are scheduled in longer time blocks to ensure that students receive the appropriate number of instructional hours. In addition, instructors must assign correspondingly more out-of-class work per week to ensure that the requirement of student out-of-class work per credit is met.

  3. Credit for Courses and Other Academic Study

    1. Classroom Courses

      For classroom courses, the 42.5 hours of coursework per credit includes time spent in class, preparing for class (reading or completing class assignments or assessments), and preparing for and taking an exam. Under current School of Law scheduling policy, students receive approximately 12 hours of in-class instruction per credit over the course of a semester (50 minutes per credit for 14 weeks). Instructors are expected to assign readings or other work that reasonably approximates at least two hours of out-of-class student work each week, per credit, for a total of 30 hours (2 hours per credit for 15 weeks). Instructors may include in the calculation of these 30 hours, per credit, the amount of time that they anticipate students will spend preparing for an exam or other final assignment. The remaining 1 hour of coursework, per credit, may be in the form of a final exam or other final assignment, and/or additional instruction.

    2. Courses Satisfying the Upper Level Writing Requirement

      For writing courses that satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement, the 42.5 hours of coursework, per credit, includes time spent in class, preparing for class (reading or completing class assignments or assessments), and researching and writing the required paper(s). As with classroom courses, students typically receive approximately 12 hours of in-class instruction per credit over the course of a semester (50 minutes per credit for 14 weeks). The remaining hours of coursework, averaging 2 hours each week, per credit, may consist of class preparation, research and writing of required assignments, and individual conferences with the instructor.

    3. Clinics and Field Placements (Externships)

      For the clinics that consist of clinical work and a separate classroom support course, the students spend at least 42.5 hours working in the clinic, per credit. For the separate classroom support course, see Part III(A) above. For clinics and field placements (externships) that do not have a separate support course, the students spend at least 42.5 hours, per credit, performing field placement or clinic work, preparing for class, and completing class assignments (e.g., reflective writing assignments). Travel time may not be included in the calculation. Students are responsible for keeping a log of their hours for review by the supervising faculty member.

    4. Other Academic Study as Defined by ABA Standard 305

      1. Independent Research

        Students enrolled in Independent Research are eligible to receive one or two hours of academic credit for performing at least 42.5 hours of work, per credit. To receive credit, a student must keep a detailed log of time that demonstrates that he or she worked at least 42.5 hours per credit on the project, including time spent researching a topic, creating an outline, drafting the paper, re-writing the paper, and meeting with the professor or research librarian. The supervising faculty member is responsible for reviewing the student's log before determining whether credit should be awarded and certifying that the student has completed the requisite number of hours. Academic credit is awarded on a credit/no credit basis.

      2. Law Review and Other Journals

        Student members of law review and other journals are eligible to receive one hour of academic credit per semester for performing at least 42.5 hours of academically related work, including completion of a note, comment, or case summaries, reading and evaluating journal submissions, editing, and cite-checking articles, per credit. A student is responsible for keeping a detailed log of his or her hours, which will be reviewed by the faculty advisor of the journal, as one part of evaluating the student's overall educational achievement. The supervising faculty member is responsible for reviewing the student's log before determining whether credit should be awarded and certifying that the student has completed the requisite number of hours. Academic credit is awarded on a credit/no credit basis.

      3. Advocacy Competition Teams

        Students selected to participate in state, regional, or national mock trial, moot court, and ADR competitions are eligible to receive up to two hours of academic credit per semester for performing at least 42.5 hours of work, including legal research, writing, practice, and participation in competitions, per credit. Travel time may not be included in the calculation. A student is responsible for keeping a detailed log of his or her hours, which will be reviewed by the faculty advisor, as one part of evaluating the student's overall educational achievement.

      4. Board of Barristers

        Students selected for membership in the Board of Barristers are eligible to receive one hour of academic credit per semester for performing at least 42.5 hours of work, including, but not limited to, administering intra-school competitions, drafting competition problems and bench briefs, judging competitions, coaching student competitors, recruiting judges, and meeting with students during office hours. A student is responsible for keeping a detailed log of his or her hours, which will be reviewed by the faculty advisor, as one part of evaluating the student's overall educational achievement.

  4. Procedures

    The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is responsible for interpreting this Policy to ensure compliance with ABA Standard 310.

    1. Publication.

      1. Web Site

        This Policy shall be published on the section of the School of Law's web site at “TTU Law Policies and Procedures.”

      2. Course Syllabi.

        All course syllabi shall contain a Standard 310 provision, which faculty should discuss with students at the beginning of each semester.

      3. First-Year Orientation and Extended Orientation

        The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Life, and Assistant Dean for Academic Services and Registrar will explain this Policy and ABA Standard 310 at the First-Year Orientation and the Extended Orientation meetings with all students as appropriate.

    2. New Courses.

      All new course proposals must include a justification, consistent with the policy outlined above, for the number of credit hours sought for each proposed course. See New Course Proposal Form. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Curriculum Committee, and the Faculty will review all such proposals to ensure compliance before approving a proposed course.

    3. Existing Courses.

      Each spring, faculty members will certify compliance with this policy and ABA Standard 310 for each class taught during the calendar year as a part of their annual evaluation by the Dean. See Faculty Annual Evaluation Form. The Dean will review each certification and relay any compliance concerns to the Associate for Academic Affairs and the faculty member.

      The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Assessment Committee will review the syllabi of a random sampling of existing courses every year to ensure compliance with this policy and ABA Standard 310. The sampling shall include a combination of courses, i.e., doctrinal, experiential, clinical, and other areas of academic study leading to academic credit.

      Any change to the credit hours for an existing course must include a justification, consistent with the policy outlined above, for the number of credit hours sought in the requested change. See Existing Course Proposal Change Form. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Curriculum Committee, and the Faculty will review all such proposals to ensure compliance before approving the requested change.

      During the class scheduling process for each academic year, the Assistant Dean for Academic Services and Registrar and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs ensure proper scheduling blocks, see Part I(A) and II above, and arrange classes to prevent excessive or unreasonable out-of-class work requirements for each class meeting.

 

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