The 2014 revisions to the American Bar Association standards for accrediting law schools introduced a formula for calculating the amount of work that constitutes one credit hour. In accordance with ABA Standard 310(b)(1), a “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates: (1) not less than one hour of classroom time or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.” Interpretation 310-1 states that “[f]or the purposes of this Standard, fifty minutes suffices for one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction. An “hour” for out-of-class student work is sixty minutes. The fifteen-week period may include one week for a final examination.”
Harvard Law School meets the requirements of Standard 310 as follows:
(1) For classroom and simulation courses, courses must meet 60 minutes per week over 12 weeks per credit, including in most cases an examination of 3 to 4 hours.
(2) For clinical courses during the fall and spring semesters, students must work for four 60-minute hours each week over 12 weeks per credit. For more information about clinical credit hours see (see Section III(B)).
Faculty are required to evaluate their syllabi to ensure that assigned reading and writing exercises required in preparation for class are a reasonable approximation of the out-of-class student work standard of two hours per week per credit hour.