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

Bismarck State College defines a credit hour as an amount of work, measured in intended learning outcomes, and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:

  1. Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out-of-class work each week for a semester, the duration of which has been established by NDUS common academic year calendar.
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities including, but not limited to, laboratory work, shop work, studio work, internships, service learning, and seminars leading to the awarding of credit hours.

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
If Seeking Certificate of Completion, Program Certificate, Diploma, or Associate Degree:
Freshman 0-23
Sophomore 24 or more
If Seeking Bachelor Degree:
Junior 60-89
Senior 90 or more

Student Credit Load

Full-time students are enrolled in 12 or more credits. A part-time student is enrolled in 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

If a course is offered within a session that is shorter in length (4-week, 8-week, 14-week, etc.), the same ratio of one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week is required, regardless of how many days a week the course is offered.

The student must be aware that maintaining that ratio in a shorter session will require additional work each week. For example, a three-credit course offered in a traditional 16-week session will require 3 hours of direct instruction and 6 hours of out-of-class student work each week. These nine hours in the 16-week session, for this one class, would require 18 hours per week if offered in an eight-week session. This adjustment would need to be considered for shorter sessions.

It is strongly recommended that students discuss their family, work, and financial obligations in relation to their academic enrollment goals with their advisor each semester to ensure realistic time requirements are considered for their course load. 

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 submitted 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 Assistant Dean and notify the student on or before the deadline to add classes. Refer to Student Credit Load and Overload procedure for more information.

Student Assessment for Course Placement

Submission of placement assessment scores at the time of admission is encouraged, however, is not a requirement. Although the placement assessments will be waived for admission, appropriate placement scores or equivalent courses will be required in order to register for math and English courses.

The following Placement Exams are preferred by BSC:

  • ACT or SAT must be dated within the last five years
  • 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 an accredited institution
  • Baccalaureate or higher degree has been earned from an accredited institution