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Academic Credit Policy

Academic credit is awarded to a student upon the successful completion of an approved instructional course, or by the demonstration of competency, demonstration of proficiency, or fulfillment of learning objectives.  The University of Richmond supports a variety of academic credit systems, each approved and maintained by the faculty of the respective school(s).  Each school is responsible for demonstrating that these requirements are met for all courses. 

I. Traditional Undergraduate Schools

The three traditional undergraduate schools, the School of Arts and Sciences, the Robins School of Business, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, moved to a system of “units” beginning in Fall 2008. In these schools, an undergraduate unit is based on “time-on-task” as a standard and recognizes 10-14 hours per week as the minimum time that a typical good student should need to spend on a course, if that course is sufficiently challenging and if that student is to achieve a high level of learning, as measured by intended learning objectives. The minimum time includes time spent inside the classroom as well as time spent outside the classroom including formal lecture time, in-class and out-of-class discussions, group work, lab work, practice drills, studio work, practica, virtual labs, participation in online discussion sessions, reading, event attendance, review sessions, studying, field experiences, service learning and civic engagement, oral presentations, etc. One unit is the equivalent of 3.5 semester hours. A total of 35 units are required for graduation.

A. Credit courses

  1. Traditional courses include an individualized mix of in-class and out-of-class activities.
    1. Students enrolled in courses in the Robins School of Business must attend at least 75 percent of the class meetings--regardless of the reason for absence--to be eligible to receive credit for the course.
  2. Nontraditional courses including theatre practica, music ensembles and individual music lessons require regular student participation and the amount of credit is commensurate with time required and learning objectives.
  3. Undergraduate Research, Independent Studies. For supervised research and similar activities, the amount of effort required for one unit of credit is determined by the supervising faculty. (For more specific information on Independent Studies, see Policy on Undergraduate Independent Studies.)
  4. Student Teaching, Internships. Credit is commensurate with the hours involved and the quality of the learning experience and is determined by the credit-awarding academic department. Academic credit is awarded when the student fulfills the objectives set by the academic department. (For more specific information on Internships, see Policy on Undergraduate Academic Internships.)
  5. Intensive format courses, such as those offered during summer terms, may include pre-meeting reading and post-meeting research work to ensure for adequate preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired which are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.
  6. Online courses meet minimally or not at all. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.

B. Transfer Credit

  1. Domestic. Credit in transfer may be accepted only for courses which are comparable to courses offered in the School of Arts and Sciences, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and/or Robins School of Business curriculum at the University of Richmond. Moreover, the coursework must have been taken at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or the international equivalent at the time the work was taken, and a grade or equivalent of C (2.0) or better must have been earned. Approved credit earned at another institution will be converted to the University of Richmond unit (one unit is the equivalent of 3.5 semester hours) and applied to the record accordingly. Up to five 3-semester hour courses will be transferred in as one unit; additional 3-semester hour courses will be transferred in as .86 units. Coursework accepted in transfer shall be applied to specific degree requirements subject to the discretion of the academic department concerned. Units awarded are added into units required for graduation, but grades are not calculated in the grade point average.
  2. International. International credit transfer follows the same procedures as stated above for domestic transfer credit. When students attend Richmond study abroad programs or other programs officially recognized by the Office of International Education, and the coursework otherwise meets the Richmond transfer criteria, credit for general elective units towards graduation is automatically awarded. Coursework accepted in transfer shall be applied to specific degree requirements subject to the discretion of the academic department concerned. In order to determine equivalency of international systems of credit to Richmond’s unit system, the best available criteria for comparing the two systems will be utilized including credits required for the degree, credits required to be enrolled full-time, or instructional time. Credit may be rounded in cases where doing so is necessary to provide a comparable amount of credit (e.g. if a student was enrolled in a full-time load of four 3-semester hour courses while studying abroad, those courses would be rounded up to 0.9 units so the total would equate to a full-time load at Richmond which is 3.5 units).

C. Credit by Examination. Credit earned by examination is awarded based on the demonstration of proficiency and may be used to satisfy requirements in the same manner as the college courses which the tests replace, or as the academic department concerned might specify. Credit earned by examination will not be awarded for the same course more than once. Students may also be exempt from a course based on an examination score as approved by the appropriate academic department. Exemption will meet an individual requirement but will not be eligible for the transfer of credit.

II. Graduate Business

Credit in the Master of Business Administration program is measured in semester hours. Historically, a semester hour of credit measures the total time commitment an average student is expected to devote to learning per week of study. Generally, one semester hour of credit represents a total of three hours per week of in-class and out-of-class work. In this context, an hour is defined as 50 minutes. A typical course worth three semester hours would meet for a minimum of 2100 minutes, excluding the final examination period, for a standard semester containing 15 weeks of instruction, including final examinations.

A. Credit courses. Traditional courses meet for the above described time periods in a traditional classroom setting and require the requisite additional work outside of class.

B. Transfer Credit

  1. Domestic. Credit in transfer may be accepted only for courses which are comparable to courses offered in the Graduate School of Business curriculum at the University of Richmond. Moreover, the coursework must have been taken at an institution accredited by AACSB at the time the work was taken, and a grade or equivalent of B (3.0) or better must have been earned. Approved credit earned at another institution will be converted to the University of Richmond semester hour and applied to the record accordingly. Semester hours awarded are added into semester hours required for graduation, but grades are not calculated in the grade point average.
  2. International. International credit transfer follows the same procedures as stated above for domestic transfer credit. When students attend Richmond study abroad programs or other programs officially recognized by the Office of International Education, and the coursework otherwise meets the Richmond transfer criteria, credit for general elective units towards graduation is automatically awarded. Coursework accepted in transfer shall be applied to specific degree requirements subject to the discretion of the academic department concerned. In order to determine equivalency of international systems of credit to Richmond’s system, the best available criteria for comparing the two systems will be utilized including credits required for the degree, credits required to be enrolled full-time, or instructional time.

III. T.C. Williams School of Law

Credit in the Law School is measured in semester hours. The Law School has an academic calendar year of not fewer than 130 days on which classes are regularly scheduled.

A. Credit courses

  1. General Policy for Determining Award of Academic Credit. The law school shall only award academic credit for those experiences that involve intended learning outcomes verified by evidence of student achievement, as established and evaluated by one or more faculty members. In addition, for each credit awarded, an experience must demand of a student at least 45 total hours of work (with 50 minutes in the classroom counting as one hour of work). Before approving any course or other experience for academic credit, the relevant approving authority shall accordingly consider its intended learning outcomes, the way in which student achievement is to be verified by faculty, and the number of hours of work it will demand of students.
  2. Classroom Credits. For J.D. students who begin their studies in 2015 or later, 64 of the credits required for graduation must be from courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction; such courses will be explicitly identified as “Classroom Courses” by the faculty.
  3. Experiential Credits. For J.D. students who begin their studies in 2015 or later, six of the credits required for graduation must be from experiential courses, which include simulation courses, clinics, and clinical placements; such courses will be explicitly identified as “Experiential Courses” by the faculty.

B. Transfer Credit

  1. ABA-Accredited Law Schools. Transfer students from or students who academically visit (with permission) at another law school accredited by the American Bar Association may apply no more than 31 hours of coursework done at such a law school toward satisfaction of the J.D. degree. In order for work to transfer, courses must be taken at an institution accredited as degree-granting by a recognized regional accrediting body for higher education and accredited by the American Bar Association at the time the coursework is completed. The coursework must be taken for a grade and, in order for the work to be transferred, a student must receive a C (2.0) or better in each course.
  2. International. Transfer students from or students who academically visit (with permission) at an institution outside the United States not accredited by the American Bar Association, may apply no more than 29 hours of coursework done at such an institution toward satisfaction of the J.D. degree. In order for work to transfer, the content of the studies at foreign institution must be such that credit would have been granted towards satisfaction of the J.D. degree requirements at the University of Richmond.
  3. LL.M. Credits. Transferring credits toward the LL.M. degree is not permitted nor may credits earned while a student is enrolled in the LL.M. program be transferred to the J.D. degree program or count towards the J.D. degree. Students who are enrolled in the LL.M. degree program may apply for admission to the J.D. program and the requirements for admission to the J.D. program are the same for LL.M. students as they are for any applicant. Applications from current LL.M. degree students will ordinarily be considered in the spring semester after fall grades have been released.

IV. School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Undergraduate

Undergraduate credit in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies is measured in semester hours. Historically, a semester hour of credit measures the total time commitment an average student is expected to devote to learning per week of study. Generally, one semester hour of credit represents a total of three hours per week of in-class and out-of-class work. In this context, an hour is defined as 50 minutes. A typical course worth three semester hours would meet for a minimum of 2100 minutes, excluding the final examination period, for a standard semester containing 15 weeks of instruction, including final examinations. Emerging delivery methodologies may necessitate determining a semester hour of undergraduate credit with non-time based methods. These courses use demonstration of competency, demonstration of proficiency, or fulfillment of learning objectives to insure they are equivalent to traditionally delivered courses. Students enrolled in courses in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies must attend at least 75 percent of the class meetings--regardless of the reason for absence--to be eligible to receive credit for the course.

A. Credit courses.

  1. Traditional courses meet for the above described time periods in a traditional classroom setting and require the requisite additional work outside of class.
  2. Hybrid courses meet in a traditional classroom setting for at least 51% of the required time listed above and the remaining instruction is delivered online. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.
  3. Online courses meet in a traditional classroom setting for less than 50% of the required time listed above and may not meet at all. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.
  4. Undergraduate Research, Independent Studies. For supervised research and similar activities, the amount of effort required for academic credit is determined by the supervising faculty. (For more specific information on Independent Studies, see Policy on Undergraduate Independent Studies.)
  5. Student Teaching, Internships. Credit is commensurate with the hours involved and the quality of the learning experience and is determined by the credit-awarding academic department. Academic credit is awarded when the student fulfills the objectives set by the academic department. (For more specific information on Internships, see Policy on Undergraduate Academic Internships.)
  6. Intensive format courses, such as those offered during summer terms, may include pre-meeting reading and post-meeting research work to ensure for adequate preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired which are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.

B. Prior Learning. Recognizing that much learning is achieved through non-traditional methods, the School of Professional and Continuing Studies awards credit for prior learning. Students can seek credit for prior learning related to a comparable course offered or accepted in transfer at the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. Students complete a three-semester-hour course, ADED 200U, Experiential Learning and Portfolio Preparation, then enroll in ADED 201U, Portfolio Submission and Assessment. Portfolios are reviewed by qualified faculty members who recommend credit based on the extent and depth of each student’s learning.

C. Transfer Credit. Credit in transfer may be accepted only for courses which are comparable to courses offered in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and/or Robins School of Business curriculum at University of Richmond. Moreover, the coursework must have been taken at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or the international equivalent at the time the work was taken, and a grade or equivalent of C (2.0) or better must have been earned. Coursework accepted in transfer shall be applied to specific degree requirements subject to the discretion of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. CLEP exams are considered transfer credits. The School of Professional and Continuing Studies generally does not accept credits earned with a Pass/No Pass designation. Semester hours awarded are added into semester hours required for graduation, but grades are not calculated in the grade point average.

V. School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Graduate

Graduate credit in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies is measured in semester hours. Historically, a semester hour of credit measures the total time commitment an average student is expected to devote to learning per week of study. Generally, one semester hour of credit represents a total of three hours per week of in-class and out-of-class work. In this context, an hour is defined as 50 minutes. A typical course worth three semester hours would meet for a minimum of 2100 minutes, excluding the final examination period, for a standard semester containing 15 weeks of instruction, including final examinations. Emerging delivery methodologies may necessitate determining a semester hour of credit with non-time based methods. These courses use demonstration of competency, demonstration of proficiency, or fulfillment of learning objectives to insure they are equivalent to traditionally delivered courses. Students enrolled in courses in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies must attend at least 75 percent of the class meetings--regardless of the reason for absence--to be eligible to receive credit for the course.

A. Credit Courses

  1. Traditional courses meet for the above described time periods in a traditional classroom setting and require the requisite additional work outside of class.
  2. Hybrid courses meet in a traditional classroom setting for at least 51% of the required time listed above and the remaining instruction is delivered online. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.
  3. Online courses meet in a traditional classroom setting for less than 50% of the required time listed above and may not meet at all. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired and are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.
  4. Graduate Research, Independent Studies. For supervised research and similar activities, the amount of effort required for academic credit is determined by the supervising faculty.
  5. Student Teaching, Internships. Credit is commensurate with the hours involved and the quality of the learning experience and is determined by the credit-awarding academic department. Academic credit is awarded when the student fulfills the objectives set by the academic department.
  6. Intensive format courses, such as those offered during summer terms, may include pre-meeting reading and post-meeting research work to ensure for adequate preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. Credit is assigned based on demonstrated competencies or learning objectives acquired which are equivalent to those of students in a traditional classroom setting.

B. Transfer Credit. Credit in transfer may be accepted only for courses which are comparable to courses offered in the graduate programs in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies or other graduate programs at the University of Richmond. Moreover, the coursework must have been taken at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or the international equivalent at the time the work was taken, and a grade or equivalent of C (2.0) or better must have been earned. Coursework accepted in transfer shall be applied to specific degree requirements subject to the discretion of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. The School of Professional and Continuing Studies generally does not accept credits earned with a Pass/No Pass designation. Semester hours awarded are added into semester hours required for graduation, but grades are not calculated in the grade point average.

VI. Noncredit Courses for CEU credit.

Courses offered for Continuing Education Units follow accepted guidelines and one CEU is awarded for each ten contact hours of instruction in a specified continuing education program or activity.

A PDF version of this policy is also available.

Approved by University Faculty, May 7, 2012
Revised version approved by University Faculty Senate, February 17, 2017