Contact Hours

Contact Hours

Per the USC Curriculum Office’s Contact Hours Reference below, 12.5 hours of contact are required per unit. RNR.U.SCHEDULE will inform the scheduling coordinator if a section does not have sufficient instructional time to meet the university’s contact hours requirement. The system calculation is based on the number of hours for the lecture section. Scheduling a discussion, lab, or quiz section can supplement the shortage of contact time for the lecture. If a discussion, lab, or quiz section has already been scheduled to accompany the lecture, please disregard the system message. The contact hours listed are the minimum required to meet the university standard.

The general formula for contact hours is as follows:
Courses must meet for a minimum of one 50-minute session per unit per week. For a 1-unit, 15-week course, the minimum contact hours for the semester are 750 minutes or 12.5 hours. Further, a 2-unit, 15-week course requires a minimum of 1500 minutes or 25 hours; a 3-unit, 15-week course requires a minimum of 2250 minutes or 37.5 hours; and a 4-unit, 15-week course requires 3000 minutes or 50 hours.

In addition to in-class contact hours, all courses must also meet a minimum standard for out-of-class time, which accounts for time students spend on homework, readings, writing, and other academic activities. For each unit of in-class contact time, the university expects two hours of out-of-class student work per week.

Ensuring that your courses meet this minimum contact hours standard may expedite the curriculum review process. The chart reflects the majority of possible course designs, though not all. For those not listed, please refer to the above contact hours formula. 

Notes
  • A 1-, 2- or 3- unit class must have at least the equivalent number of 50-minute contact hours each week. A 4-unit class may have only three contact hours (no fewer) if the department provides a rationale explaining the discrepancy (for example, a larger than average amount of reading or other assignments). If departments do not provide this rationale, the subcommittee may determine on its own that assignments look sufficiently extensive, or it may defer the course until a justification is provided for the reduced contact hours.
  • The required hours per day listed may not always match available scheduling blocks. In such cases, departments are advised to use separate discussion sections or labs to supplement the shortage in contact time.
 
 
SESSION
UNITS
DAYS PER WEEK
HOURS PER DAY
(hours/minutes)

4 weeks

2

1

615

2

310

3

205

4

135

5

115

3

2

445

3

310

4

225

5

155

4

2

615

3

410

4

310

5

230

5 weeks

2

1

500

2

230

3

140

4

115

5

100

3

1

730

2

345

3

230

4

155

5

130

4

2

500

3

320

4

230

5

200

6 weeks

2

1

410

2

205

3

125

4

105

5

055

3

1

615

2

310

3

205

4

135

5

115

4

2

410

3

250

4

205

5

140

7 weeks

2

1

340

2

150

3

115

4

055

3

1

525

2

245

3

150

4

125

5

105

4

1

710

2

335

3

225

4

150

5

130

8 weeks

2

1

310

2

135

3

105

4

050

3

1

445

2

225

3

135

4

115

5

100

4

1

615

2

310

3

205

4

135

5

115

9 weeks

2

1

250

2

125

3

100

3

1

410

2

205

3

125

4

105

5

050

4

1

535

2

250

3

155

4

125

5

110

10 weeks

2

1

230

2

115

3

050

3

1

345

2

155

3

115

4

100

4

1

500

2

230

3

140

4

115

5

100

11 weeks

2

1

220

2

110

3

050

3

1

325

2

145

3

110

4

055

4

1

435

2

220

3

135

4

110

5

055

12 weeks

2

1

205

2

105

3

1

310

2

135

3

105

4

050

4

1

410

2

205

3

125

4

105

5

050

13 weeks

2

1

200

2

100

3

1

255

2

130

3

100

4

1

355

2

200

3

120

4

100

14 weeks

2

1

150

2

055

3

1

245

2

125

3

055

4

1

335

2

150

3

115

4

055

15 weeks

1

1

050

2

1

140

3

1

230

2

115

3

050

4

1

320

2

140

3

110