Understanding Credit System

How to fast-track your degree by transferring credits to Saint Leo

Monday, August 23, 2021

Transfer relevant credits towards your degree by understanding the credit transfer system.    

What are “credit hours”?

Credit hours are how most US universities measure how many credits a course is worth based on how many hours they expect you to devote to the subject each week. Most of our subjects are worth 3 credits, which generally means students are expected to be in class 1 hour per week and put in at least 2 hours of preparation time. The actual time necessary to succeed in a subject varies by student and study method, however.

What are credit hours in an online program?

In the online environment, there is no traditional classroom where the instructor and learner meet, so the traditional measurement of time spent in “class” doesn’t apply. Online subjects are asynchronous and self-paced. As learners control their progress through the material, online subject syllabi are different from those used for in-person classes. 

To determine credit hours for online subjects, we consider the amount of time students spend going through the different elements of the subjects. So instead of a “class period”, we consider how long is spent participating in discussions, completing assignments, and reading or watching digital class material. The more elements that are built into a subject, the more credit hours it is worth. 

How do I complete credits to earn my degree?

Every online undergraduate or postgraduate program has a certain number of subjects that are each worth 3 credit hours. When you successfully complete and pass a subject, you earn those 3 credits toward the total number of credits for your degree.

A bachelor’s degree program requires the student to complete 120 credits to graduate, whereas a master’s degree program usually requires around 30-40 credits (but can go up to 60 credits depending on the program and the institution). Some subjects are worth more credits than others, so see your program’s curriculum for more information on the number of subjects you’ll be required to take.

How many hours do I need to study to get these credits?

Each US university divides credit hours across semesters in unique ways, and how many you complete per semester depends on your personal goals and availability. Some institutions require you to take 12 credits per semester to be considered a full-time student, but if you are working full-time you may consider taking 6 credits instead to ensure you can better manage your time. The amount of time it takes you to complete your degree depends on the number of credit hours you take each semester - the more subjects you are able to take, the quicker you will be done with your degree. 

What is the credit transfer system?

If you have already taken undergraduate or postgraduate subjects at another university, Saint Leo University may accept the credits earned and let you use those credits toward your degree. Saint Leo will evaluate your transcripts and translate subjects earned at other institutions to credit hours to be used towards your degree.

Saint Leo accepts up to 61 credits for bachelor’s degrees and up to 6 credits for master’s degrees. A representative will review your credit evaluations upon acceptance to the university. Applicants with at least a C- equivalent or higher in their subjects are generally accepted. 

How can these credits benefit me?


  1. Credits are a universal measure of work done and knowledge gained among US university systems. They make it possible to transfer between universities easily.
  2. Credits are used to help keep track of student progress and determine when they have met study requirements.
  3. Under some circumstances, you can switch your major without losing credit for previous subjects, specifically the general education subjects. 


You can learn more about the university credit system and its benefits by reaching out to our enrollment advisors at students@in.saintleo.edu or on Whatsapp, at +1 603-263-5244

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