Academic Calendar

It may surprise you to know that American universities operate on a slightly different academic calendar than UK universities.

US universities typically organise classes by semesters.  Of course every university will have its own specific calendar, but generally the terms are organised as such:

Semester

Begins

Ends

Holidays - no classes*

Course load

Fall

Middle/end of August

Beginning/middle of December

Labor Day - 1st Monday of Sept.

Veterans Day - 11 Nov.

Thanksgiving - Last Thursday of Nov. (usually get the Friday off as well)

4-5 modules (classes)

Spring

Middle of January

Beginning of May

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - 3rd Monday of Jan.

Spring Break - first week of March

4-5 modules (classes)

Summer** 

Middle/end of May, but varies widely by university

Beginning of August, but varies widely by university

Memorial Day - last Monday of May

Independence Day - 4 July

2-3 modules (classes), depending on the length of summer semester

*Please note that each university will assign days of no classes specific to the university, and it is not guaranteed that these holidays will be observed at every institution.

**Please note that the majority of university students choose not to attend classes during the Summer term.  Many opt to pursue vacation, work or internship experiences. Those who take courses during the Summer term are looking to get ahead in their degree or catch-up on extra classes.

Exams

The last week of both Fall and Spring semesters will be finals week, where you will sit the exams for the modules you’ve completed that semester. This means you will typically receive your marks from Fall semester by January and your marks from Spring semester in May.  For more information about exams, please see In the Classroom.