• College Semesters vs. Quarters

  • While many universities run on a semester schedule, most of Drexel University’s programs are based on a quarter system. Though this might be a bit of an adjustment at first, there are some real benefits to the quarter system, namely the ability to take more classes per year. Academic quarters move at a quick, real-world pace, and having an extra term to take courses means you can finish your degree sooner. In some cases, it also means you have more opportunities throughout the year to begin your program.

    If this is your first time working on a quarter schedule, the following information can help you adjust to your new workload and plan your academic schedule according to your needs.

    Infographic describing difference between semesters and quarters

    How long is a quarter in college?

    At Drexel, each quarter term is 10 weeks long. Once you've completed your 10-week quarter, you'll have a week of exams, followed by a short break in between terms.

    What are semester hours and quarter hours?

    A semester or quarter hour translates to a set number of hours of class per week. So, if a course is worth three credits, that translates to three hours of class per week. Many Drexel courses are worth three or four credits, translating to three or four hours per week.

    How many semester/credit hours are earned in a quarter?

    One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits. You can transfer semester credits to many undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Use our quarter to semester credit converter to calculate the difference.
  • How many quarters are in a college year?

    There are four quarters in Drexel’s academic calendar. These quarters coincide with the seasons: there’s a fall quarter (September start), a winter quarter (January start), a spring quarter (April start) and a summer quarter (June start). For the Drexel programs that run on a semester schedule, there are three semesters: fall (September start), spring (January start) and summer (May start). To see what type of calendar your specific program runs on, look at the academic calendar section of your program’s webpage.

    How many credits can you take in a quarter?

    The number of credits you take per quarter is largely up to you and your schedule. If you choose to pursue your degree part-time, you may only take one or two classes per quarter, so your credits will vary.

    The number of credits you take will also depend on what courses you take. Make sure to check your course list to see how many credits each specific course is worth.