When you start looking for Universities that you wish to apply for your MS, you will always come across a term called as Credit Hours. Students get confused as too what are these credit hours. When students see credit hours associated to a subject, they get even more confused.
To start out with, in USA you never refer the term “subject”, here its always called as a course. So in this post I will be giving you some detailed information on what these credit hours are and how does it impact a course.
Credit hours can be considered as a unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour of instruction per week over the entire term. To put it in simple words, 1 credit corresponds to 1 hour of lecture for a particular course per week. So the credit hours for a course generally differs from one university to another. Here in USA, an MS degree is said to be completed only if you finish the required amount of credits. So its not based on the number of courses you take, but its based on the number of credits you completed.
In Northeastern University, you require 32 credit hours to be completed and each course has 4 credits associated to it.
Courses and Credits:
As I said above, each course will have certain amount of credits associated. This varies from one university to another. So when the difficulty of the course raises, the number of credit hours associated with it also raises. If you have an easy course, the credit associated with it will be 1 or 2. Generally universities have 3 credits associated to a course. In Northeastern, each course has 4 credits associated with it. Here you require 32 credits to complete your MS. This means that you have to take 8 courses to complete your MS.
You would not believe it but even your F-1 student status depends on the credit hours. Officially a student taking 8 or more credits per term/semester is considered to be a full time student. Anyone taking less than 8 credits is considered to be a part time student. So in order to maintain your full time student status, you must take 8 or more credits per semester.
To conclude, credit hour represents the number of lecture hours to be taken per week throughout the term/semester. The more the credit hour the more difficult the course gets. You must take 8 or more credits to maintain your full time student status in USA.