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Qustions about credit hours in Physics and Math

  1. Jul 3, 2009 #1
    I have some questions about the credit hours system in physics and math undergraduate courses in the american universities since I am planning to do my undergraduate degree there

    For the introductory physics sequence, what is the duration of the recitation sections which are supposed to go with the courses, and are they counted in the credit hours of the course or not?

    for example an introductory physics I , say 4 credits
    does that 4 mean on average 3 hours of lecture and 1 hour for recitation per week? or recitation is not counted?
    (I am ignoring the lab and I am assuming that it has a separate 1 Cr say)

    how about introductory math courses, i see the universities listing only calculus I 4 Cr., calculus II 4Cr...etc without any information about the recitations classes or their durations

    some information would be greately appreciated

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2009 #2


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    As near as I understand, a credit or unit for a SEMESTER is for term length of 18 weeks of instruction, the number of instructional class time hours per 1 week. What I am really not sure about is how the laboratory sections relates to this. Sometimes there is a designation of "lab hours arranged", or other times "0" units (meaning credits), or still other times you will see a number of credits designated for the laboratory sections.

    A simple general example is for some university Math 1000 course on a semester schedule of 4 units - This would be a math course meeting for 4 hours per week and the course lasts 18 weeks. Does it have any laboratory section? Maybe, but someone else could explain that part better.
  4. Jul 3, 2009 #3
    ok let me rephrase my question, if an introductory physics course is for 4 Cr. say (and assume that it has a separate lab for 1 Cr must be taken as a corequisite) the question now is , those 4 Cr. are only for lecturing by the professor without including the recitation classes hours (which i assume should be something like 1 or 2 hrs per week) ?

  5. Jul 3, 2009 #4
    Uh nope. At 95% of US universities, recitation enrollment is REQUIRED in the lecture portion of the course, and since it is compulsory, the credit for it is included in the number of credit hours the lecture section gives (hence, for a 4 credit calculus lecture section, you get 4 credits for attending the lecture AND discussions together).

    Oh and credits doesn't always equal how many hours a week the class meets. At my university, a class could meet for 6 hours (2 hours x 3 times a week) and still only be worth 4 credits. So the two are not always synonymous.
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