Studying in the United States: How is the Semester Divided?

How are semesters divided in the US?

What are the differences between the semester system of American universities and domestic ones? The following editor will introduce you to studying in the United States: how the semester is divided, for reference only.

Holidays are an indispensable leisure time in the student era. For children studying in the United States, this must be one of the concerns of students and parents. The following editor will share with you how to study in the United States: how the semester is divided, I hope it will be helpful for studying abroad.

1. Semester

It is the academic system adopted by most schools. In the traditional semester system, the nine-month academic year is divided into two 16-week terms, and some schools offer 18-week terms. There are usually fifteen weeks of teaching and one week of final exams per semester. The first semester begins in late August. Generally, there will be an orientation week for new students, which ends in the middle and late December of that year. The second semester begins in early January and ends in late May. After the official semester is over, students can also freely choose the summer course.

For example, Yale University is a typical school that implements a semester system. Take the 2021-2022 school year as an example: during the 2010-2011 school year, the dormitory will be open on August 25, 2010, the semester will start on September 1, the final exam will be held on December 11-18, and the official holiday will be on December 19; From January 10, 2011, the spring break will be from March 4 to 21, and the final exam will be from May 3 to 11. May 23 is officially the summer vacation. After that, there is 3-month summer vacation. Many students will use the summer vacation to do internships, work or take summer credits.

Credit is calculated as a semester system (Semester credit), and one hour of class per week is a semester credit (1 Semester credit or 1 Semester hour). Typically a course is taught for three hours a week and students earn three credits. In semester-based schools, students generally need 120-128 semester credits to apply for graduation.

2. Quarter/Term

Most of the universities in California use the quarter system. In addition, some schools in the east also use this system, such as Dartmouth College, Drexel, and other universities mentioned below. The quarterly system divides a year’s courses into four seasons, such as spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each quarter is a term, and each term is only two and a half months (ten to twelve weeks, and about eight to ten weeks in summer). Very compact. Foreign students studying in institutions of this type must attend at least three semesters (paying tuition fees three times) per academic year to maintain their student status, and if they do not register for any semester other than summer, they must report to the school authorities. ready.

Summer classes offer regular courses but are elective in nature. One hour of class per week is one-quarter credit (1 Quarter credit or 1 Quarter-hour). Students take an average of 14-18 semester credits per semester, and generally need 180-192 semester credits before they can apply for graduation. Due to the short class time in each quarter and the frequent examinations (one month of reading leads to the mid-term exam, another month of reading leads to the final exam), students have to enter the situation as soon as school starts, and they must also be able to adapt to the constant tension and pressure.

The calculation method of quarter credits to semester credits, usually four quarter credits can be used for three-semester credits, and the conversion method is rough as follows:

Quarter credits times 0.667 = semester credits (semester units)

Semester credits multiplied by 1.5 = quarter units

For example, Dartmouth University, another famous Ivy League school, adopts a typical quarterly system, dividing the whole year into four academic quarters, and each term is 10 weeks. Generally speaking, for one academic quarter 3 courses will be chosen. Students can graduate after completing 35 courses. Interestingly, among Dartmouth’s graduation requirements, there is one: one must complete the 50-yard swimming test.

Take the 2021-2022 school year as an example: 2015 summer semester: the semester starts on June 24, the course ends on August 25, the exam begins on August 28, and the exam ends on August 31; 2021 fall semester: the semester begins on September 22, the exam starts on December 4th, the exam ends on December 8th, and the holiday begins; the 2022 winter semester: the school starts on January 4th, the exam starts on March 12th, and the exam ends on March 16th, and the official holiday begins; the 2022 spring semester: The school starts on March 28, the exam starts on June 3, and the exam ends on June 7, and the official holiday is officially closed.

3. Trimester

The three-semester system divides the twelve-month academic year into three equal parts, with a sixteen-week-long term, the first trimester (fall class) starts in late August or early September, and Christmas (December 25th) date> before the end. The second trimester (winter class) begins in early or mid-January and ends in April. The third trimester starts in late April or early May and ends in August.

The third trimester is divided into two sub-terms (Terms), namely spring class (April to June) and summer class (June to August). Credit is a semester system (semester unit). Institutions adopting this system are few in the United States, and more in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. Institutions adopting this type of program require foreign students to attend at least two semesters in the fall and winter each year, while the spring and summer classes are optional. There are four registration opportunities a year, so students enrolled in this academic system have the opportunity to graduate early.

Schools currently using the trimester system such as Northwestern Polytechnic University

4. Early Semester

The Early Semester system divides the academic year (nine months) into two fifteen to eighteen-week units, with the first term (fall class) being slightly shorter than the second (spring class). The first semester begins at the end of August and ends around December 20. The second semester starts in mid-January and ends in mid-May, with optional summer courses (Summer session). The requirements for credit calculation and graduation credits are the same as for the semester system.

In recent years, more schools have adopted Early semesters. Currently, one school that uses the early semester system is the University of Southern California. The most popular application for Chinese students, USC’s master of accounting program, has two seasons of admission in summer and fall. For some students who lack more prerequisite courses, they can start studying in the summer to make up for the prerequisite courses.

However, no matter what kind of American university system, most schools start the academic year in the fall (Fall term). Although some schools accept applications for admission in any semester, there are more basic courses available at the beginning of the fall semester. In addition, most scholarships are for students applying for fall admission, so fall classes should be the best choice for admission. The above is to introduce to you the differences in the vacation time of American universities according to different systems, but no matter which university it is, the following vacations must be closed.

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