Education Unit Certification



The following guidelines have been adopted as a good measure for defining certified units offered through the International Travel Studies Institute as of September 2018. They are drawn from the standards set up by the U.S. Department of Education and also Stanford University which meets the federal requirements (see Such definitions should allow for acceptance by other university and higher education institutions of the instructions/coursework offered on the International Travel Studies Institute programs, which adhere to these guidelines. The International Travel Studies Institute continues to monitor their offerings to be compliant with federal rules concerning the amount of work required for a federally accepted unit of credit. This federal policy requires that an amount of work for each unit of credit be institutionally established, represented in intended learning outcomes, and verified by evidence of student achievement. An official certificate of completed units will be issued by International Travel Studies Institute after the students return and grading of course work is completed by faculty, recorded and archived by the International Travel Studies Institute. International Travel Studies Institute does not guarantee that their certificated units will be accepted or transferred to any other educational institution. That determination is made individually by the educational institutions themselves. Only these institutions can assess the value of the certificated units for their institution and allow transfer acceptance of them.  Generally, institutions of higher learning require students to pay a tuition fee for accepted transfer of the units.


Federal regulations regarding the definition and assignment of credit hours under Section 600.2 and 600.24(f) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act[1] now state, in part, that a unit of credit is: 

"An amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than: 

1. “One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of- class student work each week for approximately ... ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit or the equivalent amount of work over a different period of me; or

2. “At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”

Normal on-campus university courses receiving 1 unit of credit are taught in classrooms for 50 minutes per week for 14-weeks and then have a final exam during the 15th week. Including the 2 hours of out-of-class study per lecture, the total 60-minute-hours per credit is: 12.5 hours + 25 hours = 37.5 total hours per credit. 


International Travel Studies Institute policy, which complies with the federal definition, states that every unit for which credit on a university campus is given is understood to represent approximately three hours of actual work per week for the average student. Thus, in lecture, field study trip (FST), seminar, or discussion work, for 1 unit of certification, one hour per week is typically allotted to the lecture, seminar, or discussion and two hours for preparation or subsequent reading, study, and field study work. To be a certified ITSI 1-unit course offered on an ITSI program requires a minimum of 48 course work hours.[2] Each hour of lecture or seminar is generally expected to require two additional hours of work (reading, writing, problem sets, field studies, or other assignments). Faculty who teach these courses are expected to be university level instructors, faculty, and knowledgeable guest lecturers who are from local and international communities.

FST (Field Study Trip) hours are based on a ratio used years ago by Stanford University where 3 hours in the field is equivalent to 1 hour in class. This ratio is assuming that it is not just straight long rides but is interspersed with instruction periodically over 3 hours that could be considered as if received in a 50-minute class lecture with the appropriate out of class preparation or homework. Thus, a one-day FST of 9-hours (8:00 AM-5:00 PM) would equate to three hours of class lecture. As a single field trip usually covers materials in the three main course offerings (Religious Studies, Ancient and Contemporary Near East Studies), the total hours would be distributed among the courses with an additional certified unit hour allotted to the FST course. 

[1] See also “Answers to Questions” under “Credit Definition of US Department of Education Laws of Guidance for Higher Education” at 

[2] Following the guidelines of other universities, it is assumed that any class ends 10 minutes early to allow movement to the next class.

Learn More

Each International Travel Studies Institute program offers educational units.  See the specific program for unit offerings.