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6,081: Requirements for Lecture/Lab Ratio for a Course

Last Revised: June 2009

Accreditation guidelines typically expect that contact hours correspond to credit levels associated with a course. A course with 3 hours of lecture and no lab hours per week during a 15-16 week semester is equated with 3 student credit hours and would be listed in the catalog as 3+0 for the lecture/lab ratio. A student is expected to have additional outside work of 6 hours per week (studying, homework, etc.) on average for a typical 3 credit lecture class.

A typical lab course would be equal to 1 student credit hour for each 3 hour lab per week. The lecture/lab ratio would be shown as 0 + 3, 1 credit.

For a course with both 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of laboratory, the lecture/lab ratio would be 3 + 3, 4 credits.

The "lab" portion of the ratio can be used for other types of course formats.

A course with 3 hours of lecture and 1 hour of discussion per week would have a lecture/lab ratio of 3 + 1, 4 credits. 

The value of the information on lecture/lab ratios is at least twofold: it allows students to know what to expect when planning their schedules and the Scheduling Office to determine time allocations for a course. 

The UCCC will determine whether or not the lecture/lab ratio proposed for a new course or for the revision of an existing course is acceptable. Generally, to be acceptable, the lecture/lab ratio should align correctly with the expected teaching format for the course and typical workloads for students. If a department is proposing a lecture/lab ratio that is non-traditional, the department should provide an explanation for the UCCC to review.

Examples of typical lecture/lab ratios are available at Curriculum Central.

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