College credit - American EducationA unit for measuring the amount of successfully completed academic work in higher education. The method for measuring credits and the number of credits required for a degree vary widely from college to college. Credits are usually measured, however, on the basis of a combination of classroom (credit) hours for each course and the level of the course work.
Typically, the successful completion of work in a course that meets three hours weekly for a 15-week semester earns a student one credit toward graduation. An upper-level seminar that meets only twice a week, however, might also earn a full credit, while a science course with several hours a week of laboratory in addition to classroom work might earn more than one credit, as would a required thesis. Some colleges award college credits for work experience, life experiences, published works, and scores on college admissions and placement tests.
In general, students must complete 60 semester hours, for about 20 credits, for an associate degree; 78 to 128 semester hours, or 26 to 40 credits for a bachelor’s degree; 30 to 40 graduate semester hours, for about 30 credits, for a master’s degree; and 70 to 100 total graduate semester hours (including those spent earning a master’s degree) for the 60 or more credits required for a doctoral degree.