How long is a college semester?
Commonly, 16 week college semesters are used. There are other academic calendars.
There are thousands of colleges across the United States, so prospective students have many options.
College semesters are not structured the same way as schools. They can have a total of 16 weeks. Some schools have academic calendars that run quarterly, others are divided into trimesters or offer other offerings that do not conform to academic norms.
Uncertain where to start or how to plan for college? This article will provide a breakdown of academic calendars.
Catherine M. Paden is the provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Franklin Pierce University. She explains that semesters are typically 15-17 weeks long, with a period for the final exam. Accrediting agencies usually determine how much time is required to earn credits.
Students should be aware of several important moments during the semester. Experts advise students to pay attention to the major events of the academic calendar, such as finals weeks and midterms.
"Other periods that are built into a semester that students want to pay attention to are the timelines around the beginning of the semester when you can drop or add courses," says Amber N. Douglas, who serves in multiple roles at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, including as a psychology professor and dean of studies.
She also encourages students to note other deadlines of interest, such as when to apply to study abroad.
Experts say that spring and fall are often combined to give students breaks. This can vary from one school to the next.
Students can take as many credits as they like in a semester, depending on their degree program. Some programs may require more.