Course Numbering and Semester Hours

SAIC's courses follow a logical numbering and semester credit-hour system. Read on to learn how we determine numbers and credits and what it means to your course schedule.

Course Numbering

Courses at the 1000 through 4000 level are considered undergraduate courses while 5000- and 6000-level courses are reserved for matriculated graduate students.  Here is a breakdown of categories:

Course number Category
1000 and 2000 Introductory—no prerequisites and reserved for beginning students
3000 or 4000 Intermediate and advanced courses
5000 and 6000 reserved for matriculated graduate students

Participation in graduate-level classes for undergraduate student requires the signature of the instructor and the Director of Academic Advising.

Semester Hours

SAIC operates on a semester calendar and awards credit on a semester basis. Per U.S. Department of Education regulations, for each credit hour assigned to a course, the student must be expected to perform a minimum of three hours of student work per week throughout the semester. Accordingly, a 3-credit hour course requires nine hours of student work per week (three hours of student work for each credit hour assigned). Student work may take the form of classroom time, other direct faculty instruction, or out-of-class homework, assignments, or other student work.

To determine the appropriate amount of classroom time required for each course, SAIC follows the standards established by its accrediting bodies. For example, for each credit hour assigned to a non-studio course and studio seminars, students must receive one clock hour of class time per week for 15 weeks. For each credit hour assigned to a studio course, students must receive two clock hours of class time per week for 15 weeks.

Nontraditional course delivery includes fully online, hybrid, special travel courses, or other courses that do not typically require full seat time of about 45 hours per 15-week semester of a 3-credit course. For these delivery modalities, the faculty and the CRIT team determine an appropriate method of estimating student interaction and activity hours for the SAIC Definition of a credit hour. These non-traditional delivery courses employ a method of assessment of equivalent or appropriate student learning achievement and not less than 30 hours per semester credit hour of estimated student study, online or other interaction, homework and educational effort. Therefore, for a 3-credit hour semester course, the faculty and CRIT team assure that a student will have an estimated time on interaction of 90 hours per semester, as well as a special assessment of student learning achievement to assure equivalence with a face to face equivalent course or the use of best practices and appropriate rigor if there is no face to face equivalent course.