Academic Information

Academic Year

Bismarck State College’s regular academic year consists of two semesters (Fall and Spring), and a summer session. Within each semester there are multiple start and end dates.

Credit Hour

A credit hour is a value assigned to a course that determines the number of hours spent engaged with class each week. BSC operates under a semester credit hour system.

Semester Credit Example

3 semester credits 3 days a week 50 minutes/day
3 semester credits 2 days a week 75 minutes/day
3 semester credits 1 evening a week 3 hours/week
3 semester credits No set times Online
3 semester credits Block style (used in many technical programs) = Class covered for a portion of the semester, as soon as it is over, a new class begins.

A credit hour applies equally to all courses of varying credits, duration and modes of instruction and applies to all credit granted by the college, whether through a program on or off campus or through transfer from other institutions.

Standard traditional class time should be one 50-minute period of theory per week along with two hours of study time per week for one semester. If planning to transfer quarter credits to BSC, multiply the number of quarter credits by .67 to determine how many credits will transfer (4 quarter credits X .67 = 2.67 semester credits).

Federal regulations mandate that all candidate and accredited institutions comply with the definition of the credit hour as set forth in Section 600.2, which defines the credit hour as:

An amount of work that represents intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit or ten-to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Student Classifications

Full-Time: Students registered for 12 or more semester credit hours

Part-Time: Students registered for fewer than 12 semester credit hours

Students are classified by year according to the number of college-level cumulative credits earned including transfer, regardless of the hour’s applicability toward a degree.

Year Credits
Freshman 0-23
Sophomore 24-59
Junior1 60-89
Senior1 90 or more

Student Credit Load

Full-time students are enrolled in 12 or more credits. A part-time student is enrolled in at least six but less than 12 credits. Keep in mind other responsibilities such as family, work and financial obligations before registering for classes.

If you work: BSC recommends you take: Requiring the following amount of study time per week:
40 hours/week 6 credits = 2 courses/semester 12 hours
30 hours/week 9 credits = 3 courses/semester 18 hours
20 hours/week 12 credits = 4 courses/semester 24 hours
<20 hours/week 12-15 credits = 4-5 courses/semester 24-30 hours

Example: A student enrolled in 12 credits working 15 hours per week.

Activity Hours per week
Class time 12
Study time 24
Employment 15
Total 51

Credit Load Limit

Students are limited to 20 credit hours during the fall/spring semester and 15 credit hours during the summer session. Those who find it necessary to exceed this credit limit must seek approval by completing the Course Overload Request form. Completed forms must be returned to the Academic Records Office by the end of the second day of classes during the semester for which the overload is required. The Academic Records Office will seek approval/denial from the Division Chair and notify the student on or before the deadline to add classes.

Student Assessment for Course Placement

Bismarck State College (BSC) along with the North Dakota University System (NDUS) requires all students to take a placement assessment. The purpose of placement testing at BSC is to match the academic readiness of the incoming student with the academic requirements of the curriculum. Although the tests do not affect admission to the college, students will be required to meet established criteria in certain courses and programs.

The following Placement Exams are preferred by BSC:

  • ACT or SAT must be dated within the last five years
  • Compass or ACCUPLACER dated within the last three years

The assessment may be waived by the following:

  • Remedial or College level English and Math courses successfully completed at a regionally accredited institution
  • Baccalaureate or higher degree has been earned from a regionally accredited institution