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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
How Many Hours Should You Study Per Credit Hour

How Many Hours Should You Study Per Credit Hour

Students who enroll in colleges and universities earn credit hours for the courses they satisfactorily finish.

But how many hours should you study per credit hour to be successful in completing your courses?

In this article, we will be answering this question and offer you some tips on how to make your study time effective and productive. So, keep reading below to find out more!

What Exactly Is A Credit Hour?

A credit hour is a unit of measurement of the amount of credit you receive for having attended a course that relates to the number of weekly hours spent for that subject.

University courses, in contrast to several typical high school programs that necessitate the daily attendance of students in class, might only take place twice or thrice per week.

Each hour a student devotes in class is usually worth one credit hour.

For instance, when a student enrols to a course that takes place two hours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, the course will equal six credit hours, as is typical of several university courses.

What Is The Distinction Between Contact Hours And Credit Hours?

Credit hours are contact hours as well as hours invested beyond the class. You will, nevertheless, only receive ‘credit’ for the class time.

Internship programs, research laboratories, and community engagement could also earn you credit points or credit hours.

You will most probably have to devote an additional two hours beyond the class time to study for every ‘contact hour’ or hours invested in lectures. However, you would still earn one credit for each contact hour of lecture.

The Significance Of Credit Hours In Degree Granting

Credit hours play a crucial role in terms of the way a student can monitor their progress toward achieving their degree, in addition to assigning value to the time that an individual devotes in class.

Students must usually complete a certain number of credit hours so as to receive their bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher learning.

Even though each institution’s criteria could vary a bit, universities that follow the semester structure typically require students to achieve a minimum of 120 credits, whereas universities that adhere to the quarterly system will necessitate students to complete 180 credit hours.

How Many Hours Should You Study Per Credit Hour?

The quick answer to this would be around 2-3 hours.

The generally accepted guideline for university studying would be that students must devote around 2-3 study hours for every 60 minutes spent in class.

For non-science classes, it is suggested that you devote around two hours beyond the time spent in class studying for every one unit you’ve registered.

So, for instance, a three-unit course means you would multiply 3 (units) with 2 (study hours). Therefore, the total study time should be around 6 hours

For science classes, it is suggested that you devote nearly three hours outside of class studying for each one unit you’ve registered.

So, for instance, a four-unit course means you would multiply 4 (units) with 3 (study hours). Therefore, the total study time should be around 12 hours. 

Keep in mind that the hours used in the example given above correspond to the weekly time spent studying for one course, and that the real-life study durations and course timetables may differ.

Practical And Productive Study Time Tips

Define Your Best Study Conditions And Adjust Accordingly

To study efficiently and effectively, you must refine the standards under which you focus better; this could involve both the time of the day and the surroundings of your study place.

Give heed whenever you study in different hours and in changing environments to determine when and where you can be most efficient and choose to study under the particular circumstances that suit you best.


Even though several students argue that their productivity peaks in the night hours, most individuals are more concentrated and constructive early in the day or at least before the night hours.

Scanning books or a refereed journal, drafting an essay, or making progress on a project all require you to be concentrated on that, and your concentration efforts reduce as the hours go by.

When scheduling study hours, be pragmatic (for example, it wouldn’t be realistic to plan to study following a 4-hour lecture or once you are finished with your 9-5 job).


While many people prefer studying in their room, they are easily swayed and lose focus. It is typically rather beneficial to study away from one’s residence.

Several students prefer to work with a certain noise level, in whose situation a cafe or some other louder part of the reading room could be ideal.

Other learners enjoy complete silence during their study time, in whose cases a peaceful or calm area of study like the library is perfect.

Avoid diversions like a smartphone or MacBook by not carrying them with you, by switching them off, or at the very least not taking them out of your backpack while you’re studying.

Try not to listen to your favorite music or music that will make you want to sing and dance, as it could divert your attention and make you lose your motivation to study.

Divide Your Study Load Evenly Over The Course Of The Semester

There is a substantial amount of information that must be studied in a relatively short amount of time for each class you take.

It is typically impossible to absorb an entire book within a couple of weeks.

How Many Hours Should You Study Per Credit Hour 1

As a result, the most effective method for learning the material is to take it slowly over the span of many weeks, as this approach helps with a better retention and grasp of the course material.

Study in small periods, such as 1-2 hours at a stretch (with a 5-minute pause every 30 minutes or a 10-minute pause every 60 minutes), in order to be able to concentrate more effectively and memorize more of the information you studied, so that you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate.

Evaluate And Assess Your Progress Regularly

Revisiting information consistently is another thing that is essential for remembering it and garnering a thorough understanding of it.

Re-reading or analyzing your notes is an example of such an assessment. Doing mock exams and testing yourself is another excellent method of reviewing.

Testing yourself is a great method of spending evaluation time because it enables you to identify any weak areas. This is an effective strategy for all classes, not just problem-solving ones.

Here are some suggestions for evaluation and assessment tests:

Go through your in-class and personal notes within a day of learning the subject matter and then every week after that.

Invest a minimum of one hour for every class each week revisiting your notes.

This is an essential part of the 2-3 hours per credit per week study time that is recommended to spend on coursework when not in class.

When assessing yourself, initially challenge yourself to think of a solution without having to consult your memos or writings (even in cases where you are required to presume), then evaluate your answers.

This will facilitate greater retention of the right answers and solutions and assist you in determining what material you need to devote additional time on.

While doing your week-by-week recap, go back to any study material that you managed to master pretty early in the semester and put it to the test by combining it with aspects from other sections.

If you cannot find any exercise questions, create your own or ask your fellow students to create them for you.

Study With Purpose

The more you study with purpose and engage with the material, the more probable it is that you will memorize and comprehend it.

Recommendations For Productive Learning

If you want to better understand and retain the information you read in every book, article, paper, and so on, try to make connections between the content and your daily life experience.

Empirical evidence, real-life situations, anecdotal incidents can be correlated with some parts of the content you need to memorize.

So, if you manage to make connections, you will better understand what’s written and manage to retain it easier and quicker.

The Bottom Line

Every course has different credit hours and depending on whether it is a science or non-science course, the hours spent studying for every credit hour will differ.

In this article, we have gone through some examples of how much time you need to study for every credit hour, however, every person is different, so it ultimately depends on your efficiency and study skills.

The tips provided above can help you make the most out of your studying time. Finding the right environment for you and studying at the right time is crucial and will save you from time spent procrastinating.

Even so, do not be too harsh on yourself; studying for several courses per semester is difficult, especially when you have other commitments too. So, take it one day at a time and study wisely!