At Converse University, baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 120 semester hours and the equivalent of four academic years. Post-baccalaureate degree programs require a minimum of 30 semester hours and the equivalent of one academic year.
The academic year is divided into three terms: Fall, January, and Spring. The Fall and Spring terms are approximately 13.5 to 15 weeks in length. The January term covers 20 instructional days within a four-week period with faculty meeting 36 contact hours for a three-credit lecture course and 72 contact hours for a three-credit studio/design course. Summer terms vary in length and delivery; however, contact hours hold to the same total time requirements.
Converse University uses a modified version of the credit hour as the official unit of measure for the assignment of academic credit. At Converse, the traditional in-class instructional period is a fifty-minute instructional hour. Courses are delivered in one of three modes:
- Traditional, Synchronous Delivery Mode: Each credit hour requires a minimum of one in-class instructional period per week (or its equivalent for courses scheduled one or two days per week) accompanied by an expectation of at least two sixty-five-minute periods of out-of-class student work per credit hour per week for each full semester of 13.5-15 weeks. Equivalent periods are observed in all synchronous instruction formats, including evening and weekend courses. In the January Interim Term, each credit hour requires a minimum of twelve in-class instructional periods accompanied by an expectation of at least two sixty-five-minute periods of out-of-class student work per credit hour.
- Hybrid Delivery Mode: Hybrid courses combining online, asynchronous instruction and in-class, synchronous instruction meet in the classroom setting for a minimum of two sessions consisting of a total of at least four instructional periods. These courses require students to participate in online instruction each week that approximates the time requirements of traditional courses but base the credit hour assigned to the course on the satisfaction of learning outcomes equivalent in rigor and content to traditional courses.
- Fully Online, Asynchronous Delivery Mode: Fully online, asynchronous courses by definition do not (necessarily) meet as a class at set times. Online courses are delivered either within the general time frame of a regular course semester or within a special, seven-week term. In both cases, courses are designed and taught on a learning outcomes basis, so that students advance in the course following assessment demonstrating systematic, engaged learning and specific course content accomplishments. Course material is sequenced so that the intended learning outcomes are achievable within the designated semester or term but in every case the outcomes are comparable to those of traditional delivery mode courses at equivalent credit hour levels.
In accordance with the SACS-COC Policy Statement on Credit Hours (June 2011; edited January 2012), Converse affirms that the credit hour represented in its modified instructional period and accompanying expectations is based on “intended learning outcomes…verified by evidence of student achievement”  that reasonably approximate the federal definition of a credit hour. Converse holds the view that learning outcomes are the most important consideration in assessing the success of academic coursework in all delivery modes. Academic programs are assessed annually at Converse and learning outcomes in each program are assessed as part of a regular cycle, where each degree program is fully reviewed at least once every three years.
The slightly shortened in-class time (the fifty-minute instructional period) for traditional, synchronous delivery modes reflects the needs of complex schedules and student movement between classes without interfering with the intended learning outcomes and student achievement in each course. Converse understands the “Guidelines for Flexibility in Interpretation” of the federal standard in the SACS-COC Policy Statement, including that the federal definition “does not dictate particular amounts of classroom time versus out-of-class student work.” Converse documents student learning outcomes and believes that the totality of in-class and out-of-class time in its official policy best serves the institutional mission and intended outcomes of the curriculum.
Science lab courses and studio courses meet more than the minimum stated in a. Traditional, Synchronous Delivery Mode. Studio art and interior design lab one-credit term course represents 100 minutes (1.5 hours) of contact time each week. A three-credit term course meets for 300 minutes (5 hours) a week. There is the expectation of at least four sixty-five-minute periods of out-of-class student work per credit hour per week.
Directed Independent Studies are asynchronous courses by definition and do not meet as a class at set times. Course material is sequenced so that the intended learning outcomes are achievable within the designated semester or term but in every case the outcomes are comparable to those of traditional delivery mode courses at equivalent credit hour levels. In the Graduate School, a Directed Independent Study requires a minimum of six contact hours with the instructor.
Directed student teaching is for 12 credits at the undergraduate level and 9 credits at the graduate level. Students must complete 60 days, which is mandated by the SC Department of Education. This includes observation, participation, and teaching.
Students in the initial education programs must complete a minimum of 100 hours clinical experiences, which is mandated by the SC Department of Education.
Internships are typically 1 credit hour for every 40 hours worked at the internship site.