Semester ConversionSemester ConversionUniversity of Cincinnati

Semester Conversion

General FAQ

Students walking on campus.
What is the difference between a quarter system and a semester system?

The quarter system divides the academic year into 10-week periods. The semester system divides the year into fall and spring semesters, each with about 14 weeks of instruction in addition to a summer session with about 14 weeks of instruction.

Fall semester will begin in late August and end in mid-December. Spring semester will begin in early January and end in late April. Summer session will begin in early May and end in early August.

How will the semester terms be named?

FS=Fall semester

SS=Spring semester

US=Summer semester

Fall semester, 2012 = 12FS


FM=Fall medical semester

SM=Spring medical semester

UM=Summer medical semester


FL=Fall law

SL=Spring law

UL=Summer law

What is the definition of a credit hour?

One semester credit hour will be awarded for a minimum of 750 minutes of formalized instruction that typically requires students to work at out-of-class assignments an average of two hours for every hour of formalized instruction. The instructor bears the primary responsibility for formalized instruction.

Credit hours may be awarded on a different basis for other types of instructional activities (e.g., labs, clinical, studio and independent study).

What is the credit hour overload policy for the semester system?

The present course overload policy for quarters will remain in effect for semester conversion.  An additional per/credit hour fee will be assessed for enrolled hours that exceed eighteen (18) semester hours. 

How will the transition to semesters affect tuition billing?

While the annual amount of tuition will not increase due to semester conversion, the amount will generally be divided into two semester payments rather than three quarter payments.

Currently, tuition payments are due 10 days before the start of each quarter term. Under the semester system, tuition payments will be due 10 days before the start of the semester term.

Financial aid will work in a similar manner. While the annual amount of eligible federal, state and institutional aid will not change due to semester conversion, the amounts will generally be divided into two semester payments rather than three quarter payments. Furthermore, Federal direct student loans will be distributed 10 days before the start of the semester term, just as they are currently distributed for quarter terms.

How will the transition to semesters affect my financial aid?

While annual amounts of financial aid awarded will remain the same, the amounts will generally be divided into two semester payments rather than three quarter payments.

What will the Cincinnatus scholarship application deadline be under the semester system?

The deadline will not change due to semester conversion.

For more information on the Cincinnatus scholarship, go to

How will semester courses differ from the quarter classes?

A semester course (about 14 weeks of instruction) covers more material than a quarter course (about 10 weeks of instruction). Students will spend about the same amount of time per week in class but for about 14 weeks instead of 10 weeks.

What will the new academic calendar look like under semesters?

See the online academic calendar. The first day of classes under the semester system will be Monday, August 27, 2012.

View the online academic calendar for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.

What are the application dates and deadlines for the semester system?

Incoming freshmen students

Fall semester deadline: Dates may vary by college and program. Please visit the Undergraduate Admissions Application Deadlines page for more information.

Spring semester deadline: Apply by Nov. 1; confirm by Dec. 1.

Example: For freshmen admission in Spring 2013, apply by Nov. 1, 2012.

Summer semester: Apply by March 1; confirm by April 1.

Example: For freshmen admission in Summer 2013, apply by March 1, 2013.

Transfer students

Fall semester deadline, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP): Priority application deadline of March 1, 2012. 

Example: For transfer admission to DAAP in Fall 2012, apply by March 1, 2012.

Fall semester deadline, all other uptown colleges: Apply by July 1; confirm by Aug. 1.

Example: For transfer admission to the College of Business in Fall 2012, apply by July 1, 2012.

Spring semester deadline: Apply by Nov. 1; confirm by Dec. 1.

Example: For transfer admission in Spring 2013, apply by Nov. 1, 2012.

Summer semester deadline: Apply by March1; confirm by April 1.

Example: For transfer admission in Summer 2013, apply by March 1, 2013. 

What will the class day look like under semesters?

Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes will be 55 minutes long, while Tuesday/Thursday classes will be 80 minutes long. Classes will begin 8 a.m. every day.

Since there will continue to be a 10 minute gap between class periods, most classes will not start on the hour. For example, as the first MWF 55-minute class of the day will run from 8-8:55 a.m., the next 55-minute class will run 9:05-10:00 a.m. The following 55-minute class will run from 10:10 a.m.-11:05 p.m. To see the hour-by-hour scheduling of classes, visit the Semester-Schedule Class Blocks page.

This schedule meets the Ohio Board of Regents requirements for minimum instructional minutes per credit hour.

What will the summer session preceding the Fall 2012 conversion to semesters look like?

The summer session preceding the conversion to semesters in Fall 2012 will be an accelerated quarter of about seven weeks. This accelerated quarter will begin Monday, June 18, and end Saturday, August 4. To see all dates for Summer Quarter 2012, visit the Academic Calendar

In general, under the semester system, summer terms will begin in early May and end in early August. 

Under the semester system, will students be admitted throughout the academic year to begin studies in either the fall, spring or summer semester?
Undergraduate programs

Most undergraduate programs currently admit students to start during any quarter. In a few undergraduate majors with very structured and sequenced programs, this is not possible in order to serve the best interests of students.

For undergraduate admissions, this practice will continue under the semester system. Most undergraduate programs will admit students to begin studies during any semester. A few with very structured and sequenced programs will not do so in order to serve the best interests of students.

Graduate programs

Graduate programs that currently accept students to begin any quarter will generally accept students to begin in fall, spring or summer semester. However, the decision for admissions timing on the graduate level is ultimately made by the specific graduate program. So, if you have a question about a specific program, contact that program directly. If you need assistance in finding a contact for a specific program, use our Ask a Question option.

How can I tell if I will still be at UC when the conversion occurs in Fall 2012?

If, in Fall 2010, it will take you longer than two years to graduate, then you will likely be impacted. The typical full-time undergraduate, baccalaureate student completes 45 quarter hours per year. If you are more than 90 quarter hours from degree completion, then you are likely to be impacted.

An easy way for you (an undergraduate student) to check this is to run your individual degree audit at OneStop. Or you may consult the college advising offices at

What can I do to prepare for semester conversion?

If you are close to graduation, make every reasonable attempt to complete your degree prior to the conversion to the semester system. If you cannot finish under the quarter system, make every attempt to complete all sequences of courses on the quarter system or delay beginning sequences until the conversion has taken place. Finally, consult with your academic advisor regarding questions you might have.

Can semester transition students choose the “old” quarter-based or the “new” semester-based curriculum?

Quarter-based courses will no longer be offered as of Fall 2012. All students will complete their degree within the semester system starting at the end of August 2012.

Will class size increase as a result of semester conversion?

There may be some larger classes because of changes in enrollment patterns, changes in scheduling of courses, or changes in departments’ instructional models. On the other hand, some classes may be smaller.

What safeguards are guaranteed to students who will transition from quarters to semesters?

See UC’s Pledge to Students.

If I take advantage of UC health coverage, will I be covered year round under semesters?

To prevent a lapse in summer coverage, the university divides the annual premium into payments according to terms (three terms under quarters or two terms under semesters). The spring term payment and coverage extends through summer, with no additional premium required. See more.


What are the advantages of a semester calendar?

The main academic advantage of the semester system is that it provides greater opportunities for collaborative research and for in-depth teaching and classroom projects.

A semester calendar facilitates study-abroad options, student teaching and other forms of experiential learning.

Ease of student transfers

Conversion will ease the transfer of students into and out of UC programs from other national institutions, most of which (90 percent) already follow the semester system. This is especially true for minority students since 94 percent of historically black colleges and universities follow the semester system.

Because most of our national peers already follow the semester system and because most Ohio institutions – and all the state’s four-year, public universities – will be on semesters adherence to a common academic calendar based on semesters will improve program articulation as well as enable cross-institution courses and materials along with comprehensive student interfaces.

A semester calendar will help UC to “capture” more summer-school students returning home for the summer months from other institutions and wanting to enroll in courses (and in a time frame) compatible with their academic careers. (A temporary transfer, if you will.)

Job-market advantages

Conversion will provide graduating students a “first-mover” advantage when entering the job market. Most large employers schedule recruitment of new hires according to the semester calendar. Currently, UC grads enter the post-graduation job market much later than graduates from most other schools because of the university’s late graduation date.

Employers involved in UC’s cooperative education (co-op) program, an important differentiator of education at UC, often prefer the semester system (already in place at most other co-op schools) because it allows for a longer work cycle, enabling employers to benefit by entrusting students with projects of greater longevity and responsibility. In addition, employers often team co-op students from differing schools on important projects. When these students are on incompatible academic calendars, co-op students from quarter-based schools “arrive late” and “leave early” and thus miss out on work-based opportunities.