There are many reasons why you need to know how to convert credits to hours. If you are transferring universities, each institution has somewhat different requirements. Employers often want to know how many hours you are in your class schedule to prepare work plans. When you calculate the credits you’ve earned, they may exceed or fall short of what is required of the new institution or employer. Putting together a valid count of how many hours you are accumulating each semester is a relatively simple process.

Why Convert Credits

It may seem like a full load, but you don’t know if you are taking enough classes to meet the requirements for scholarships or to fulfill some other programs that base eligibility on the number of hours you are taking without converting credits to hours. If you are preparing to transfer credits or are attending a school in another country to further your educational pursuits, you may need to convert your hours of hard work into credits. Employers, particularly those that have programs that offer jobs to students enrolled in a certain number of hours in school, will often ask how many hours are being completed each semester, not just credits.

Difference Between Quarter and Semester Schools

The main difference between quarter and semester credits is the amount of time spent in the class. A quarter school is made up of four terms each year. It typically begins in the fall and goes though winter, spring and an optional summer season for a full 4-year term. Each term or quarter lasts about 11 to 12 weeks. Semester schools on the other hand consist of three semesters each graduating year. The terms include fall and spring with summer being optional. Each semester lasts a bit longer than the classic quarter semester at 15 to 16 weeks.

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How to Calculate Credits

While graduation requirements are relatively the same for a quarter and semester system, the credits are calculated differently. The difference in credits is due to the length of the semester since 1 semester credit is equal to 1.5 credits. This means that if you attend a quarter school you end up with 3 semester credits and 1 optional credit if you decide to attend summer. Attendance at a semester school will give you a total of 2 semester credits with 1 additional credit if you opt for summer classes.

Consider this typical student’s tally: 4 years times 3 quarters times 16 hours per quarter would equal 192 total hours. Divide the quarter credit hours by 1.5 to convert semester hours into quarter hours. You can also use the base of .6667 and multiply the total completed semester credit hours by that to arrive at the correct sum.

These instructions apply only to students who are attending a college or university that operates on the semester system, not the quarterly system.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.