Credit Hour Awarded for Coursework

Adopted by the Faculty, November 2017

The expectation under American Bar Association Standard 310 is that students will invest a minimum of 42.5 hours of time in class attendance, preparation for class, exam taking and other work for an award of one credit. This policy provides a minimum threshold. Students should expect to put in more hours than required by the policy. The following list (items a through g) illustrates how the minimum threshold will likely apply to the various courses offered at the law school. Faculty teaching a course which does not fit in any of the types of courses listed below shall seek to satisfy the minimum threshold in a manner consistent with the letter and spirit of this policy.

(a) For courses in which a final exam is given, the 42.5 hours figure translates as follows. For each credit hour, students will spend:

  • 12 hours of in-class time (14 class sessions of 50 minutes each)
  • 30 hours of out-of-class preparation (2 hours per week for each credit multiplied by 15 weeks)
  • 50 minutes of exam takingInstructors may reserve additional time for completion of an examination.

(b) For courses in which a final exam is not given, instructors will adjust the out-of-class time to account for the difference.

(c) For clinics, externships, practicums, other courses with the experiential (E) designation, Legal Research and Writing, Advocacy and Research, and seminars, the 42.5 hours figure could involve a different combination of in-class and out-of-class time. At a minimum, however, students should expect to devote 42.5 hours of work for each credit awarded.

(d) Students enrolled in a research course should expect to devote 42.5 hours of work for each credit awarded. Students will submit detailed timesheets to their faculty supervisor every four weeks.

(e) Students enrolled in one of the academic journals should expect to devote 42.5 hours for each credit awarded. Students will submit detailed timesheets to the editor-in-chief (or designee) of their journal, who will forward the timesheets to the journal’s faculty advisor.

(f) Students enrolled in courses taken for credit in other colleges at the University of Missouri, will need to provide a syllabus of the course and a certification from the instructor teaching the course, confirming that the amount of in-class and out-of-class time involved in such course complies with Standard 310(b).

(g) Students enrolled in courses at another ABA-approved law school must provide a certification by an official from the school offering the courses confirming that the units of credits for the courses to be transferred comply with Standard 310(b).

Information on Determining Length of Readings and Assignments

In designing class assignments that are consistent with Standard 310’s requirement of 2 hours (120 minutes) of out-of-class work for each 50 minutes of in-class work, instructors need to consider the type, complexity, and purpose of the assigned materials.

450 Words (Paperback) 600 Words (Monograph) 750 Words (Textbook)
Survey; No New Concepts (500 wpm) 67 pages per hour 50 pages per hour 40 pages per hour
Survey; Some New Concepts (350 wpm) 47 pages per hour 35 pages per hour 28 pages per hour
Survey; Many New Concepts (250 wpm) 33 pages per hour 25 pages per hour 20 pages per hour
Understand; No New Concepts (250 wpm) 33 pages per hour 25 pages per hour 20 pages per hour
Understand; Some New Concepts (180 wpm) 24 pages per hour 18 pages per hour 14 pages per hour
Understand; Many New Concepts (130 wpm) 17 pages per hour 13 pages per hour 10 pages per hour
Engage; No New Concepts (130 wpm) 17 pages per hour 13 pages per hour 10 pages per hour
Engage; Some New Concepts (90 wpm) 12 pages per hour 9 pages per hour 7 pages per hour
Engage; Many New Concepts (65 wpm) 9 pages per hour 7 pages per hour 5 pages per hour

 

Source: Center for Teaching Excellence, Rice University, available at http://cte.rice.edu/workload#howcalculated.

For your information, the average law school casebook contains between 500 to 600 words per page. Thus, if you are assigning materials with many new concepts with the goal of having students engage with the material (i.e., “Reading while also working problems, drawing inferences, questioning, and evaluating”), the table indicates that the appropriate reading assignment should be about 7 pages per hour. Thus, an assignment of 14 pages will take a student about 2 hours to complete. That level will satisfy Standard 310 for one credit. For a three credits course, an assignment of about 42 pages will be consistent with the standard.