How Long Is a College Semester?

As a college student, you’re probably juggling what feels like a million things at once. Between classes, assignments, extracurriculars, and maybe even a part-time job, time can feel like your most precious resource. This is why mastering time management is so important to your success and well-being as a student.

One aspect of effective time management is understanding your college’s academic calendar. For example, how long is a college semester, and where do your exams and vacations fall in the academic year? By fitting your studies into the larger picture, you can plan ahead and use your precious time as efficiently as possible.

How Long Is a College Semester?

A college semester typically consists of 15 to 17 weeks of instruction, with the last week of the semester devoted to final exams. Most universities break the academic year into two semesters—fall and spring. During this time, students attend classes, participate in lectures and seminars, complete assignments, and study for exams.

Along with a traditional 16-week semester, Azusa Pacific University offers eight-week sessions. Eight-week semesters might be shorter in length, but they’re just as rigorous as their 16-week counterparts. The same amount of instruction simply fits into a shorter time frame.

How Many Classes Can You Take Per Semester?

Students typically take four to five courses in a semester, with each course meeting two to three times a week for around 50 to 75 minutes. This schedule allows students to dive deep into each subject and develop a more in-depth understanding of the material.

Most universities allow a maximum of 18 credits per semester, which typically looks like six 3-credit courses. You’ll need to take a minimum of 12 units per semester to be considered a full-time student. Full-time student status may be required for insurance or financial aid requirements.

How Can You Plan Your Courses around Holidays?

Holidays are built into both the fall and spring semester calendars. The fall semester includes Thanksgiving break, and the spring semester often includes a week off for spring break. Some universities may have time off for seasonal holidays, such as Easter. These breaks are a good way to recharge mentally, see family, and catch up on studying and final assignments before the semester comes to a close.

If you plan to use the holidays to get ahead on your class schedule, try breaking up your study sessions. For example, setting aside two 30-minute focus sessions during the day can help you get a lot done and ease some end-of-semester pressure.

Can You Take College Classes in the Summer or Winter?

Along with a traditional fall and spring semester, many universities offer four to 10-week sessions in the summer and winter. The course offerings for these terms are usually limited, and they can require an intense schedule to keep up with the course load. Taking courses in the summer or winter can be a great way to get ahead on your degree, but it’s important to care for yourself so you don’t burn out.

APU embraces the benefits of summer classes, offering more than 200 courses (most with a five- to eight-week schedule). Summer courses at APU are also discounted up to 74 percent, which can help you reach your goals without stretching your budget.

Staying on Top of Your Schedule Throughout the Academic Year

As long as you keep track of important deadlines and plan ahead for major assignments and finals, mastering time management in college can be a breeze. Start by checking out your university’s academic calendar and mark down important dates such as registration and start dates. Use this as a template to guide your priorities and help keep your semester running smoothly so you can focus on learning and growing your skill set.