All academic institutions operate according to an academic calendar which is made up of terms marking the beginning and end of each session of classes. In North America, there are typically 4-types of academic terms, each with its own timelines, advantages, and disadvantages. In order from most common to least common they are:
- Accelerated Courses
Here is a breakdown of each of the 4 academic term types.
How Long is a Semester?
In a college semester school year, there are two terms per year that are generally 15 – 17 weeks in length: Fall (occurring between August and December) and Spring (occurring between January and May). Some semester-based schools will also provide a Summer session that is less than the normal semester, typically 10 weeks in length and does not coincide with the typical academic year.
How Long is a Quarter?
Another common academic term is the quarter school year. Each quarter is 10 weeks long and there are usually three quarters in an academic year: Fall (beginning in September), Winter (beginning in January), and Spring (beginning in March). A few quarter-based schools offer a fourth Summer Quarter, but it is not considered an official term in the academic year.
How Long is a Trimester?
The Trimester academic term is extremely similar to the semester term, with a slightly condensed schedule. In a trimester system, the individual study periods are a bit shorter, about 12 weeks, however, these universities also offer a full-length third session in the summer: Fall (beginning in September), Winter (beginning in January), and Spring (beginning in May).
What is an Accelerated Course?
Accelerated courses are a growing type of academic term that has become prominent with the rise of online learning. Recently, a growing number of institutions now allow students to enroll in fast-paced courses that last between five and eight weeks. The most prevalent accelerated course format at the moment is 8 weeks.
How many weeks are in a semester/How long is the semester?
In a semester school year, there are two terms per year that are generally 15 – 17 weeks in length. They usually range from the months of August/December and January/May.
How many semesters are in a year?
Typically, a semester college term will consist of two semesters, with an optional summer session that operates on a condensed schedule.
How many weeks are in a quarter
In a quarter school year, each academic term is approximately 10 weeks in length. There are usually three quarters in an academic year: Fall (beginning in September), Winter (beginning in January), and Spring (beginning in March).
How many semesters are in a year of college
During one year of college, there will typically be two semesters. There is usually an optional summer session, however, it operates on a condensed schedule.