Conversion to Semesters

Since the 1960s, Johnson & Wales University has offered classes on a term calendar. Today, a large majority of U.S. institutions of higher education operate on a semester system.

JWU started the conversion in 2018-19 by offering all graduate degree programs, except for the master’s level education programs, on a semester calendar.

The conversion to semesters will be completed in fall of 2020 for all undergraduate, continuing education and master’s level education programs offered at the university. This transition schedule also applies to programs offered through the College of Online Education. The conversion to semesters will positively impact the quality of JWU’s educational experience in many ways.

  • Students will have more time to interact with their faculty as they learn the content and skills of each course and participate in projects.
  • Internships will be longer so students will gain additional experience in their professional field.
  • With future academic years starting approximately in late August and concluding in early May, students will have more time to pursue summer work or study abroad opportunities.

Watch the video below to prepare yourself for the transition:

For students enrolled in the College of Online Education, an additional set of FAQs have been developed.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is Johnson & Wales University converting to a semester system?

JWU’s transition into a semester system comes at a time when more colleges have implemented this change; in fact, today a large majority of U.S. institutions of higher education, including community colleges, operate on a semester calendar. The conversion to semesters will positively impact the quality of Johnson & Wales’ educational experience in many ways:

  • Students will have more time to interact with their faculty as they learn the content and skills of each course and participate in projects.
  • Internships will be longer so students will gain additional experience in their professional field.
  • Students will have more time to pursue summer work and study abroad opportunities.
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When is the transition to semesters taking place?
  • Undergraduate, continuing education, and master’s level education programs will follow a semester calendar starting in fall 2020.
  • Graduate degree programs, except for the master’s level education programs, began following a semester calendar as of fall 2018.
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What is the difference between the term system and the semester system?

The term system divides the year into three, 11-week sessions in the fall, winter and spring. The semester system divides the year into fall and spring sessions, each spanning approximately 16 weeks of instruction. Summer sessions will also be available to students. Please review FAQs for students enrolled in the College of Online Education.

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Will the transition to semesters impact me during my time at JWU?

This change will mainly impact

  • undergraduate students who complete their degree requirements after August 2020
  • students considering accelerated JWU master’s degree programs
  • students graduating in 2019 who are interested in pursuing a JWU master’s degree

All students are encouraged to meet with their faculty advisor or assigned academic counselor in Student Academic Services (SAS) to review a plan that will keep them on track toward graduation.

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How will converting to semesters impact study abroad?

Operating under a semester calendar will only benefit students’ access to study abroad. Many of the university’s exchange partners run on a semester calendar. This will make it easier for JWU students to go on an exchange program without having to take a term off. In addition, more study abroad opportunities will be available through our exchange partners.

Similar to the academic programs, all study abroad program credits will be converted using the same calculation. Students may still be eligible to apply scholarships and financial aid to study abroad semester, year-long and summer programs.

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Will JWU still offer accelerated master’s degree programs on semesters?

Yes, accelerated master’s programs will continue to be offered. Students who have been accepted into an accelerated master’s program may take up to three graduate-level courses during their senior year of their bachelor’s degree program at no additional charge, and then continue on to complete their master’s degree. Please see the Admissions Requirements section of the catalog for more information.

 

Schedule and Course Workload

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What is the undergraduate semester class schedule (by campus)?

Undergraduate students: Undergraduate academic courses will continue to be scheduled Monday – Thursday under the semester calendar. Courses will be delivered over 16 weeks. Most classes will meet twice per week, each over a 75-minute class period. 

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What are the available master's level course delivery formats?

Graduate students: Master’s level courses are delivered over 8 or 16 weeks, in standard and hybrid formats*. The majority of courses will be offered in the evening from 6-8:45pm, with some scheduled during the afternoon.



Standard courses must meet at least 15 times during the 16-week semester. Course content is delivered in a traditional classroom through face-to-face instruction.

Hybrid courses must meet at least 8 times during the semester. Over 50% of the course work is delivered in a traditional classroom through face-to-face instruction. The remaining course work is completed online.

*Please note: all variations are not available for all mater's level programs. 

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How many hours per week will an undergraduate student be in class under a semester calendar?

Course workload will be distributed over a 16-week period instead of 11 weeks, providing students more time to complete course work.

*This example does not apply to lab hours.

 

Financial Aid and Tuition

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Will it cost more to pursue my education on the semester calendar?

No. The annual cost will be the same as it would be under a term calendar. Students will see that billing is different—twice per year instead of three times per year. The university offers several payment options.

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Will my financial aid eligibility change under the semester system?

No. Your financial aid eligibility will not change as a result of JWU transitioning to a semester system, but financial aid will only be disbursed twice per year instead of three times per year. 

NOTE: Your enrollment status, being full time or less, is one factor in determining your eligibility for financial aid.

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How many credits qualify for full-time status under the semester system for financial aid?

Undergraduate students (starting fall 2020): Students enrolled in a minimum of four 3.0 credit courses, or 12 semester credits, may qualify for full-time financial aid. Students enrolled at least half-time may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need).

Graduate students (as of fall 2018): Students enrolled in a minimum of three 3.0 credit courses, or 9 semester credits, may qualify for full-time financial aid. Students enrolled at least half-time may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need).

 

Honors Programs

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How will SHARP change when JWU transitions to semesters?

What is SHARP?
The Special Honors and Rewards Program (SHARP) is designed to allow qualifying undergraduate day program students to accelerate the completion of their degree requirements in less than the normally prescribed time.

New SHARP Standards
As of fall 2020, students who have a GPA of 3.60 or higher will be able to register for up to 21 semester credits with no additional tuition fees.* SHARP eligibility is determined after the completion of each semester (no application is required).

Students currently in the SHARP program as of spring 2020 (under the term calendar) will be permitted to register for up to 21.0 credits for fall semester 2020. Thereafter, all students will fall under the new SHARP standards at the completion of the fall 2020 semester.

For questions about SHARP standards, students should speak with their SAS academic counselor.

This program does not apply to continuing education and online students.

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What is the GPA criteria for dean’s list?

Starting with the fall 2020 semester, full-time undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence by achieving a term grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.50 while also earning a minimum of 12 or more credit hours, receive dean’s list commendation.

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What are the requirements for Latin honors (i.e. cum laude, etc.)?

Eligible undergraduate degree candidates receive cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude recognition according to their GPA.

Students graduating by May 2021 are eligible to receive Latin honors as follows: cum laude, 3.40–3.60; magna cum laude, 3.61–3.80; and summa cum laude, 3.81–4.00

Students who complete their degree requirements in the fall semester of 2021 or after receive Latin honors at graduation as follows: cum laude, 3.50–3.69; magna cum laude, 3.70–3.89; and summa cum laude, 3.90–4.00.

 

Credits and Transcripts

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Will I lose credits in the transition between systems?

No. Your credits will be converted to the equivalent number of semester credits. (4.5 quarter credits = 3.0 semester credits)

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How many credits per semester is considered full-time for undergraduate students?

Students registered for 12 to 18 semester credits will be considered full-time.

For timely completion of a bachelor’s degree program (four years), the average course load per semester for undergraduate students is 15 semester credits (5 courses). A minimum of 120 semester credits is required to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Requests to enroll in more than 18 credit hours must be approved by the college dean. If approved, students will be charged for each semester credit over 18. Permission will not be granted to enroll in more than 21 credits in a semester.

See "Honors Programs" FAQs above to learn more about SHARP. 

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How will my transcript look if I start under a term calendar and graduate under a semester calendar?

The conversion of credits for all course work completed at the undergraduate level and for the master’s level education programs will occur after summer 2020 classes have ended.

All courses on an academic transcript will reflect semester credits regardless of when those courses were completed. The conversion of credits will be noted in the legend of the official transcript. 

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If I am looking to transfer to JWU as a full-time, undergraduate student before fall 2020, will my credits be accepted by the university?

The standards to determine eligibility for transfer credit will be the same as current protocol at JWU: 1) coursework taken at an approved institution; 2) the course must be similar in level and content; and 3) student must have a grade of C or higher for an undergraduate course; B or higher for a master’s level course. Learn more about our transfer credit policy in the JWU Catalog.

Changing to a semester calendar will make transferring to JWU more seamless for students, as the majority of transfer students come from the semester system.

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Will my transcript be converted to semester credits if I am a JWU alumnus?

No. Only the transcripts of students who are currently enrolled will be converted. 

Academic Calendars

2020-2021

2020-21 Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

2020-21 Physician Assistant Studies

2019-2020

2019-20 Graduate Programs

2019-20 Undergraduate, MAT and MEd

2019-20 Physician Assistant Studies

Questions?

If you have questions or comments, please email semesters@jwu.edu.

Current students: Please direct your questions to your faculty advisor or academic counselor in Student Academic Services. It’s important to meet with them to create and continually review a plan that will keep you on track toward graduation.