Four Credit Courses vs. Three

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Bob Fiske, Oct 18, 2002.

  1. Bob Fiske

    Bob Fiske Member

    I am a new student. The majority of courses at my school are four credits. I see that within my university system there is a strange inconsistancy with respect to who has mostly four credit courses and who has mostly three, resulting in TEN fewer classes taken for a Bachelor's at the four credit schools.

    Using 120 as a round number for a Bachelor's I get:

    120/4 = 30 classes (College for Lifelong Learning (the adult college) and Univesity of New Hampshire, Durham (the main campus))


    120/3 = 40 classes (Plymouth State and Keene State Colleges)

    The difference of ten classes equals one year of college at the state colleges.

    My initial reaction is that I will get a four year degree for three years of study. If I can figure this out, they why couldn't a grad school or an astute employer? This is also a cash cow for the university system. Since I pay by the credit, they get the same money for teaching ten fewer courses. What's more, the faculty are all adjunct (nothing wrong there, but I'll bet they make less than a full professor at another school, thereby increasing the profit margin even more).

    I asked my advisor why our classes are four credits. I didn't get a coherent answer as she didn't really know and resorted to guessing. I've asked other students (mature adults, all of them, with experience at other colleges) and they didn't know either. CLL's courses are more condensed as they have shorter terms, but the content seems consistant with other college courses of the same types elsewhere. In other words, CLL's courses are more rigorous because of the time frame, but not because of the content or the sum of what's demanded. This doesn't seem to me to warrant awarding additional credit.

    What am I missing here? Why, do you think, the main campus of the system and the adult college require ten few courses for a Bachelor's than the state colleges?? Do grad schools care about this?

    I'm not unhappy with my school. I just want to fully understand what's going on here and what the implications are for my future. And I don't want do draw hasty conclusions.


  2. Bob Fiske

    Bob Fiske Member

    I forgot to add that CLL runs three terms during the school year instead of the usual two (not including summer). The classes take twelve weeks instead of fifteen. That's why they are a bit more condensed.

  3. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Are you sure you don't need 160 credits for the degree?
  4. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    Isn't this actually 124/4 = 31 classes? Not that it matters that much.

    Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it, so long as you make sure that you take any courses you may need for your job or graduate school. Unless you end up with specific course deficiencies of some sort, I really don't think that it will ever matter. I seriously doubt that anyone will actually count the number of courses that you took. Grad schools will just verify that the appropriate degree has been awarded; they will look at your total credits when determining your GPA, and they will check to make sure that you've taken any required prerequisites. Other than that it shouldn't be an issue, unless it makes you uncomfortable that you will be taking fewer courses.
  5. Howard

    Howard New Member

    I agree with Dennis, I think you are in a 160 quarter program compared to a 120 semester program. May be wrong, have been a couple of times...
  6. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

  7. Howard

    Howard New Member

  8. Bob Fiske

    Bob Fiske Member

    As my major appears to be a hybrid of psychology and sociology I will, for sure, see that I meet any prerequisites before applying to grad school, once I'm sure where I want to apply and for what. Thanks, Gary, for that sound advice.

    Howard: I wrote 120 as a round number to simplify the arithmetic. Sorry if that caused any confusion.

    Also, I'm guessing here, but I think that CLL says "minimum" because most of its students are mature adults who transfer credit and/or have a portfolio of work experience. Using myself as an example, my elective credit is already done and then some, thanks to several ACE evaluated military schools. As it stand now, I'll graduate with 138 credits. If grad school requires more courses, then who knows? Here I am concerned about getting only three years of college for a four year degree when I could end up with five!


    One question remains. Why would one school award four credits and another three for the same classes?

  9. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    How many hours are you in class? Most schools require 15 hours tuition per semester unit.
  10. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Checked the CLL website and they appear to have 31 course degrees by granting 4 semester credits per course instead of 3.

    I'm sure they have rationalized it but a course is a course whether you go 3 hours per week for a semester or 4.
  11. Bob Fiske

    Bob Fiske Member

    I thought of that when I was asking around trying to figure this out. Sorry, I should have mentioned it in my first post. I spend 3.5 hours per week per 12 week class. This yields a total of 42 hours, or 10.5 per credit.

  12. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    It seems pretty arbitrary to me. Would you prefer 120 courses worth 1 credit each? Everyone is just cutting corners with these 3 and 4 credit courses. [​IMG]

    Seriously though, I've had several 3 credit courses that demanded at least twice as much work as a 5 credit courses that I took from the same department at the same school. The only explanation I can think of is that maybe they couldn't demand more classroom time for the course without also making it worth more credits. TESC actually offers (or did as recently as last year, at least) a course worth 9 credits, and they have a Social Psych course that is worth 6 credits. I have a hard time believing that 9 credit course would actually cover 3 times as much material as a 3 credit course, but who knows.

    There are quite a few schools that take the 4 credits/course approach, including Touro. I don't really see any problem with it, so long as you cover the necessary subject matter. Maybe you end up with some 2 or 3 course sequences covering the same material that would otherwise require 3 or 4 course sequences.
  13. Bob Fiske

    Bob Fiske Member

    Yeah, who knows. I'll focus on grad school requirements as per your advice and leave this mystery alone, for now. Thanks again.


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