10.7 Policies for Awarding Credit

The institution publishes and implements policies for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for its courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery.  These policies require oversight by persons academically qualified to make the necessary judgments.  In educational programs not based on credit hours (e.g., direct assessment programs), the institution has a sound means for determining credit equivalencies.  (Policies for awarding credit)

 Compliance   ____Non-Compliance


St. Petersburg College (SPC) publishes and implements policies for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for its courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery.  These policies require oversight by persons academically qualified to make the necessary judgments.

St. Petersburg College (SPC) has policies and procedures that conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education and to Florida Administrative Rule 6A-14.030, Federal Definition 34 CFR 600.2, and the SACSCOC policy.  SPC BOT Rule 6Hx23-3.04 and Procedure P6Hx23-3.04 codify these policies for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of course format or mode of delivery.

SPC Credit Hour Definition

For the purposes of applying this definition, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement, regardless of course level or modality offered per BOT Procedure P6Hx23-3.04:

  1. The equivalent of fifteen (15) fifty-minute (50) periods of classroom instruction plus the final exam.
  2. A 1 credit course equates to 17 contact hours (15 hours of classroom instruction plus a 2-hour final exam).
  3. Whether courses are scheduled to meet one or more times per week, in shortened sessions such as Express Session, or other modalities, such as online or blended courses, it is expected that at least 750 minutes of instruction (e.g., 50 minutes x 15 periods of instruction), exclusive of breaks, plus the final exam is the basis for each credit awarded.
  4. Common practice expects that students will devote 1 hour in class and 2 to 3 hours outside of class in reading, study, research, preparation of papers, etc. for a total of 3 or more hours per week for each credit in a lecture/discussion course. This practice/ expectation applies to all modalities.
  5. Laboratory courses, where all requirements are met in the laboratory should meet 2,250 minutes (3 credit hours X 50 minutes X 15 weeks) for each credit; those laboratory courses that require substantive work outside the laboratory should meet 1,500 minutes (2 credit hours x 50 minutes x 15 weeks).
  6. Combined lecture/laboratory courses are identified with a “C” following the course number.  These courses should be designed in accordance with the guidelines outlined above, even if there is no discrete break between the lecture and laboratory components of the course. For example, a 3-credit combined course with 2 hours of lecture would meet 4 hours per week if substantive out-of-laboratory work is required and 5 hours per week if the laboratory work is conducted entirely in class (i.e. a 3-credit hour combined lecture/laboratory course equals 2 hours lecture and 2 hours lab OR 2 hours lecture and 3 hours lab).
  7. SPC courses offered in the online or blended delivery mode that do not meet the traditional contact hour requirements still maintain the same outcomes, outline, and structure as their face-to-face counterparts. Courses converted from a face-to-face course into an alternative delivery mode by a faculty team are reviewed by an instructional design technologist to ensure equivalency. Prior to implementation, courses that are converted to an online or blended modality are reviewed and approved through a formal, institutional process to ensure that the content and learning outcomes are equivalent to their face-to-face counterparts. This process is conducted by a cross-discipline team at the program level and overseen by the Instructional Design, Education an Support department (previously known as Online Learning and Services) and reviewed by the Curriculum and Instruction Committee (see C&I Process Review).

This procedure governing the assignment of credit hours is published publicly on the College’s Board of Trustees Rules and Procedures website.

State Governance on Defining Credit Hours for Alternative and Accelerated Programs

The Florida State Board of Education governs the policies and procedures on articulating credit for alternative and accelerated programs through Florida Statute 1007.01, Administrative Rules: 6A-10.024 Articulation Between and Among Universities, Florida Colleges, and School Districts and 6A-14.030(8), Postsecondary Instructional Unit Definition and Awards in Florida College System Institutions and the Florida Department of Education Articulation Manual.  The State also maintains approved credit articulation lists for military courses, post-secondary advanced vocational (PSAV) programs, and industry certifications.  These governing documents are codified in St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees Procedure P6Hx23-4.28.

The College’s procedure establishes policies for awarding credit from various sources in order to accelerate student completion of degrees: Advanced Placement (AP), Advanced International Certificate of Education Program (AICE), International Baccalaureate (IB), College-Level Examination (CLEP), DSST (DANTES), Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT), Excelsior College Exams (UExcel), Assessment of Prior Learning/Experiential Learning Program (ELP), Career and Technical Education Articulation Agreements, and Correspondence or Extension Courses. Information for each of these is provided publicly on the College Transfer website.

All Florida College System schools are governed by Associate and Certificate academic program curriculum frameworks that determine program length (credit hours) and learning outcomes to be met regardless of modality or session type. The State Common Prerequisite Manual provides credit hours for courses, including upper-level baccalaureate courses.  The maximum amount of credit that may be accepted from exams is 45 credits (6A-10.024). The maximum amount of credit that may be accepted from all sources in combination must not exceed 75% of the program requirements. 

Exam Equivalencies

All credit awarded by State derived exam equivalencies is the responsibility of The Office of Admissions & Records

Career and Technical Education Articulation Agreements

Most articulation agreements are founded upon State-determined credit crosswalks of program outcomes to existing State courses within AS degree programs.  These articulations are created by state-wide faculty volunteers within the field of study in conjunction with the State’s office of Articulation.  The responsibility for awarding credits using this process is the responsibility of the Office of Admissions & Records.  Credits awarded through Career and Technical Education Articulation agreements include agreements with:

  • Local county public schools
  • Technical Colleges
  • Statewide Career Pathways
  • Statewide Applied Technical Diplomas to AS degrees
  • Statewide Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulations of Industry Certifications to AS degrees
  • Non-gold standard Industry Certification
  • Non-credit workforce programs
  • State clock hour programs into AS degrees (PSAV)
  • Specific partnership agreements such as with the Tampa Bay Career Pathways Consortium

SPC also offers several clock-hour, workforce programs that are considered non-credit but can articulate into A.S. degree programs.  The Police and Fire Academies, per Statewide Articulation agreements, are built into A.S. degree programs as sub-plans (see Criminal Justice A.S. as an example). Per federal regulation, programs that exceed 600 clock-hours are eligible for financial aid.  SPC has two such programs, Florida Law Enforcement Academy and Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician, as well as four that do not exceed that threshold. These programs are designed to meet agency requirements and lead to state certification in their associated fields.  They do not follow the SPC credit program course development process discussed below, but rather utilize agency designed curriculum for their programs.

Faculty Role in Documenting Prior Student Learning to Credit Hour

In addition to awarding credit from state defined exam equivalencies via the Office of Admissions & Records, the College also defines its process for awarding credit for prior/experiential student learning on the College Experiential Learning Program (ELP) website. The techniques used to assess prior/experiential learning may include written and oral examinations, portfolio evaluations, interview assessments, and project or product evaluations. These techniques are used when correlating credit for learning defined by ACE guidebooks, DANTES, the MOS Specialty Guide, and the CAEL Guide.  The use of these assessments is designed to certify levels of attainment consistent with the content and performance expectations established in the curriculum of the College for equivalent courses. These techniques must be developed, overseen, and evaluated by College faculty credentialed in the area under review.

Furthermore, the College program and faculty are responsible for documenting specific criteria for how the program will award college credit by creating a crosswalk of courses’ major learning outcomes (MLOs) and the type of experiential learning being reviewed, identifying the assessments that will be used to certify comparable levels of educational attainment, and receioving appropriate final College approval.  (An example of this can be seen in the Articulation Agreement between the Engineering Technology department’s Biomedical Engineering Technology A.S. degree program and St. Petersburg College’s Workforce Institute.)  Assignment of credit using the ELP process is the responsibility of appropriately credentialed faculty.

Process of Course Approval

The College’s Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Committee, made up of a cross-section of faculty credentialed in their discipline, is responsible for review and approval of all College courses and programs using the Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Process Review policy.  The C&I Committee works with the Director of Curriculum Services to submit recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Board of Trustees for final approval.  All courses taught at Florida College System institutions are required to use the Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) to award credit for lower and upper-division coursework as defined in Florida Statute 1007.24.

Upon submission of a new course or a course modification, the faculty and Dean of the department collaborate with the Curriculum Services department to research and ensure the course number is appropriately aligned with the SCNS and the designated amount and level of credit is awarded.  This process ensures seamless transferability across Florida public universities, colleges, and participating private institutions. State-wide faculty advisory committees remain active to provide guidance and direction to the SCNS. SPC faculty members serve on several SCNS statewide curriculum committees, including the statewide general education curriculum committees. Development of any changes to all courses follows the procedure defined in SPC Board of Trustees P6Hx23-3.04 ending with approval by the BOT.



Part I: Signatures Attesting to Integrity

Part II: Institutional Summary Form Prepared for Commission Reviews

Part III: Fifth-Year Compliance Certification

Part IV: Follow-Up Report (not applicable)

Part V: Impact Report of the Quality Enhancement Plan