What is the difference between a quarter and semester system?

The quarter system divides the year into 10- to 12-week periods in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. The semester system divides the year into fall, spring, and summer periods, each spanning roughly 15 weeks. Students will spend the same amount of time per week in class, but will have three to five additional weeks to dive deeper into the course material.

When is the transition to semesters taking place?

In fall 2016, the undergraduate programs of the College of Professional Studies will convert to a semester academic calendar.

Who are “transition” students?

“Transition students” are undergraduate students who began their certificate or degree program under the quarter system but will finish under the semester system. If you are expected to graduate before fall 2016 or enroll in the College of Professional Studies in fall 2016 or later, you are not a transition student.

How will the year be structured under semesters? 

Each fall and spring semester will contain 14 calendar weeks of instruction and one week of exams. The fall semester will begin following Labor Day and end shy of the December holidays. The spring semester will run from January to late April and include a one-week break in March. Summer will start in mid-May and end in mid-August. Courses will be offered in a full 15-week term and two intensive 7.5-week terms each semester.

How many courses will I take each semester?

Because most courses will be offered for three semester hours of academic credit, the standard course load will not change.

Will the change to semesters delay my graduation date?

If you work with your advisor to develop a transition plan, the change will have no effect on your anticipated graduation date. All transition students will be required to connect with their advisor before Fall 2016 to map out a plan for their continued coursework through semester conversion.

What impact will this change have on tuition?

Tuition rates will be subject to annual adjustments, as they are now under the quarter system. While the change to a semester calendar will not, in itself, result in higher total tuition or student fees, each bill will be higher, because you will be making three semester payments rather than four quarterly payments. See the chart below for an example. Or for additional information, click here.  

Your Bill Under Quarters

  Summer Fall Winter Spring Total

Quarter Hours












Your Bill Under Semesters

  Fall Spring Summer   Total

Semester Hours












What impact will this change have on my financial aid?

There will be no impact on your financial aid eligibility. Annual financial aid will continue to be awarded based on Expected Family Contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For additional information, click here.

How many semester hours will I need to graduate?

The minimum graduation requirement will be 120 semester hours for undergraduates. The required number of semester hours will be higher for select programs in the Lowell Institute School.

Will it be more difficult to double-major or to switch majors under the semester system?

A semester system will not prevent a student from double-majoring, minoring, or switching programs. A vast majority of universities that follow a semester calendar accommodate these requests; the College of Professional Studies will, too. 

How will quarter hour credits be converted into semester credits? Will other colleges understand this change?

The conversion of quarter hour credits to semester credits is a standard used throughout academia. In the College of Professional Studies undergraduate programs, one quarter hour of credit will be equal to 0.75 semester hours of credit.

What impact will the conversion have on the summer session preceding fall 2016?

The summer session preceding the conversion to semesters will not change. Summer term 2016 will mark the last time quarter courses are offered. 

Under the semester system, will students be admitted throughout the year to start studies in the fall, spring, or summer semester?

Most undergraduate programs in the College of Professional Studies will admit students to start during any semester. For a few majors with highly structured and sequenced programs, this will not be possible in the best interest of student.

What can I do to prepare for the semester conversion?

If you are nearing graduation, we recommend trying to complete your degree prior to the semester conversion. 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. If you are a transition student, you will be required to connect with your advisor to discuss your course progress.

To make an appointment with your Academic Advisor:

        1. Follow this link and log in using your myNEU credentials.
        2. Choose "College of Professional Studies" from the "Find a Calendar" dropdown menu.
        3. Click on the name of your advisor.
        4. Select an appointment date and time.

 Find a full list of advisors here.

Can I choose the “old” quarter-based system over the “new” semester-based model?

As of fall 2016, quarter-based courses will not be offered. All students will complete their degree within the semester system starting at the beginning of the fall 2016 semester..

If I am under the Northeastern University Student Health Plan, will I be covered year-round under semesters?

Coverage under the Northeastern University Student Health Plan will not change with the semester conversion.

To prevent a lapse in summer coverage, the university divides the annual premium into payments according to terms. The spring term payment and coverage extends throughout the summer, with no additional premium required. Coverage under the NUSHP will not change with the semester conversion.

If I am currently on the quarter system but will end on the semester system, will I lose any credits?

You will not lose credits. All the credits you earned on the quarter system will be converted to their semester equivalent, and those courses will continue to satisfy degree requirements. Learn more in Our Promise to Students.

Will I lose transfer credit during the semester conversion process?

The College of Professional Studies Promise to Students guarantees that credit you earn on the quarter system—including transfer credit—will apply in the semester system. Credits transferred from institutions still on quarters will be converted to semester equivalents. Credits transferred from institutions on the semester system will remain as semester credits.

What impact will the conversion have on my grade point average?

The semester conversion will not affect your GPA; it will remain identical to your quarter system average. The Registrar’s Banner Student system will convert your quarter GPA to an identical semester GPA. After fall 2016, your GPA will be calculated in semester hours.

How many credits will be required to achieve full-time status?

Full-time status for undergraduate students will remain the same. You will need 12 semester hours per semester.

How many semester hours will comprise an undergraduate minor?

Fifteen semester hours will comprise an undergraduate minor. Prerequisite coursework may not be included in this count.

How can I tell if I will still be at the College of Professional Studies when the conversion occurs?

If, in fall 2015, it will take you longer than one year to graduate, you will likely be impacted by the change. Connect with your academic advisor to develop a transition plan.

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

We will continue to operate our undergraduate programs under rolling admissions.