Higher Education Student Workload Policy

Fact box

  • Policy owner: Chair, Quality Assurance Committee
  • Policy category: Academic: Academic Administration
  • Policy status: Approved
  • Approval body: Academic Board
  • Endorsement body: Quality Assurance Committee
  • Related policies:
  • Last amended: 22nd Aug. 2023
  • Relevant HESF: Part A: 1.3.2


The purpose of this policy is to provide a guide to the time that a Higher Education (HE) student of average ability would be expected to put into a subject in order to progress.


HE students


Workload refers to the time to which each student is notionally committed. Alphacrucis University College (AC) uses the allocation of credit points to define its HE course requirements and also to provide guidance to students on what is a reasonable workload in each teaching period. In general, 1 credit point should equate to 1 hour of student work per week. A ‘full-time’ study load is 40 credit points which is usually expected to amount to about 40 hours of study per week. This study time could include:

  • lectures;
  • additional required seminar or tutorial time;
  • preparation time for class and other formal settings, allowing a student to engage to best effect;
  • out of class time, including access to libraries, student-to-student interaction for learning purposes, etc;
  • preparation for and execution of required assessments;
  • such personal and course administration time as directly relates to the demands of a particular subject.

This study time does not include orientation, chapel or other such general AC activities which do not specifically relate to a particular subject. A coursework subject taught across a normal 13-week semester (including 12 teaching weeks and one exam week) is generally accorded the weighting of 10 credit points, resulting in a credit point being the equivalent of one hour of weekly workload. These may be varied around the load norms described in the following table, depending on the course of study, mode of offer, and pedagogical approaches taken:



1. Lectures


2. Additional required seminar or tutorial time


3. Preparation time for class and other formal settings, allowing a student to engage to best effect


4. Out of class time, including access to libraries, student-to student interaction for learning purposes, etc


5. Preparation for and execution of required assessments


6. Such personal and course administration time as directly relates to the demands of a particular unit.


Total Hours



Where lecture hours are reduced (e.g. in intensives), assessment levels will be increased according to the AC Assessment Workload Calculator.

A student can enrol in up to 50 credit points a semester without formal approval. If a student wishes to enrol in more than 50 credit points in one semester (incorporating two terms), this request must be submitted to the relevant Program Director (or equivalent) who will make the decision in consultation with the Head of School.  The program director will advise the student of the outcome in writing and record in the Student Management System (Quercus).

In the event that a student enrols in 50 credit points over four semesters then their candidate period may be compressed to the minimum period. It is noted that this provision is for extraordinary circumstances and this provision is included as an affirmation of a self-directed learner. This provision should not affect the learning outcomes of the subjects or the course as all the learning outcomes and assessments would need to be met.

Monitoring of Workloads

Program Directors (or equivalent) must ensure that procedures for the monitoring of workloads are in place, as part of the normal course and subject monitoring and review processes.

Responsible for implementation

Chair, Quality Assurance Committee

Key stakeholders

All staff and HE students