Policy on Assignment of Credit Hours
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as part of the State University of New York, has adopted the Carnegie Unit as a measure of academic credit. This policy defines how SUNY Downstate reviews new and existing courses and programs to assure our compliance with the SUNY Policy on Credit/Contact Hours (Document Number 1305) and the United States Department of Education definition of a credit hour as "an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement."
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as part of the State University of New York, has adopted the Carnegie Unit as a measure of academic credit. This is in compliance with the SUNY Policy on Credit/Contact Hours (Document Number 1305) and the United States Department of Education definition of a credit hour as "an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement." (http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1106.pdf)
Downstate offers a variety of instruction type of courses, including standard lecture and laboratory courses. In addition, as an academic health science center, many of our courses are practical learning experiences. Each individual school or college at Downstate reviews and approves their own curriculum, but all follow standard definitions as put forth by the institution, and are in full compliance with State University of New York policy.
Specifically, many courses follow the format of a standard credit hour awarded for fifteen 50-minute sessions of classroom instruction with a normal expectation of two hours of outside study for each class session. Therefore, a typical three credit hour course at Downstate meets for three 50-minute sessions per week for a fifteen week semester, and thus totaling 45 sessions. Another format commonly used is the practicum course, such as our clinical courses. For these courses, credit is awarded as defined by the State University of New York (Document Number 1305) for full-time independent study. Specifically, for clinical courses that meet full-time, one semester credit hour is awarded for each week of the course. For clinical courses that are not full-time, but rather interspersed with other coursework, one semester credit hour is awarded for every forty-five hours of involvement on the part of the student. As an example, a clinical course that meets for nine hours a week over the course of fifteen weeks would be assigned three semester credit hours.
New courses, revisions to current courses, and the programs of study are each approved through their respective college or school curriculum committee. It is the charge of each of these Committees to review and approve the curriculum only as it is in compliance with all federal, SUNY and national accreditation guidelines. In addition, virtually all of our programs must be individually accredited by their respective professional organizations. And each accrediting body reviews our courses for compliance with their individual requirements.
Depending on the individual school or college’s by-laws, the approval for curriculum may only rest with the Curriculum Committee or it may also require approval by the faculty organization of the college or school. Final authority for the curriculum of each College rests with the Dean of the individual school or college and thus, ultimately, the Dean is responsible for ensuring that programs are reviewed periodically. The review of programs and curriculum is on-going and a continuous improvement process, with reviews occurring annually based on student feedback, changes in the discipline, and updated accreditation standards as published by the professional organizations. Any significant change in a course or a change in a program of study is required to be approved by the respective Curriculum Committee and may require approval by the State University of New York, the NYS Education Department, individual program accreditors, or Middle States.
SUNY Policy Document 1305: Policy on Credit/Contact Hours
Last Updated: December, 2015