Just about everyone has heard the term "credits" at some point in their education. They’re also likely aware of how many credits they're taking and how many they need to graduate from school. Yet many of people don’t know exactly what a credit actually is.
Credits, often called credit hours, are calculated based on the estimated number of hours per week a student may spend completing that particular course. For example, one college credit typically amounts to one hour of in-class learning and two hours of homework or self-guided study per week. At most colleges, a typical course is three to four credits, meaning they take three to four hours of class time plus studying, totaling anywhere from nine to 12 hours per week.
Of course, these are just estimates. Study time can vary from student to student according to their needs, and from course to course. It's not uncommon for one student to spend less than 12 hours a week on a four-credit course, just as it's not uncommon to find a student who spends more than that per week on the same course. Despite this, a credit hour calculation can be useful when deciding how much coursework you can handle during a single session or semester.