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.

With the start of the 2018-2019 academic year, JWU will begin 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 late April, students will have more time to pursue summer work or study abroad opportunities.

The conversion to semesters is another component of how JWU is fulfilling the promise to provide an exceptional education for our students.

Read more in a university message (PDF) from Provost Lily S. Hsu, EdD.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

2. When is the transition to semesters taking place?

  • Graduate degree programs, except for the master’s level education programs, will follow a semester calendar starting in fall 2018.
  • All undergraduate, continuing education, and master’s level education programs will follow a semester calendar starting in fall 2020.

3. 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 see question #17 for additional information applicable to graduate students enrolled in the College of Online Education.

term-vs-semester

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

This change will mainly impact

  • graduate students on track to complete their degree in fall 2018 and beyond
  • undergraduate students who complete their degree requirements after May 2020
  • students considering accelerated JWU master’s degree programs
  • students graduating in 2018 who are interested in pursuing a JWU master’s degree
  • students pursuing coursework in the ESL program who are preparing for enrollment in a master’s degree program in fall 2018, except for the master’s level education programs

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

5. 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)

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

  • Full conversion of credits for all course work completed at the master’s level will occur after summer 2018 classes have ended.
  • Full 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.

7. Does the transition to semesters mean that it will take longer to complete my degree?

No. It should not take longer to complete your program if you work with your advisors to develop a transition plan. Each program’s curriculum and individual courses will be adapted for a semester calendar.

  • For the majority of master’s level programs, students must successfully complete three 3.0 credit courses, or 9 semesters credits, for 4 semesters in order to graduate in 2 years or less.
  • For the majority of undergraduate programs, students must successfully complete five 3.0 credit courses, or 15 semester credits, for 8 semesters in order to graduate in 4 years.

8. Will the transition to semesters impact my graduation date?

It may. Under the semester calendar, the fall semester will end in mid-December (compared to November under a term calendar), and the spring semester will end in late April (compared to mid-May under a term calendar).

9. 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.

10. 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. Please note: your enrollment status, being full-time or less, is one factor in determining your eligibility for financial aid.

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

  • For graduate students starting fall 2018: full-time enrollment is three 3.0 credit courses, or 9 semester credits. Students enrolled at least half-time may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need).
  • For undergraduate students starting fall 2020: full-time enrollment is four 3.0 credit courses, or 12 semester credits. Students enrolled at least half-time may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need).

financial-aid-semester-conversion

12. What will the class schedule look like?

  • Master’s level courses will be delivered over 16 or 8 weeks, with some in hybrid format. The majority of courses will be scheduled in the afternoon or evening.
  • The university continues to explore all possibilities in setting the class schedule for undergraduate programs.

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

Under a semester calendar, a student taking five 3.0 credit courses will be in academic classes for approximately 15 hours per week. Currently, under the term calendar, a student who is carrying four 4.5 credit courses is in academic classes approximately 16 hours per week. This example does not apply to lab hours.

14. How will going from four courses per term to five courses per semesters impact my work load outside of the classroom?

Under the semester calendar, the course work load will be distributed over a 16-week period instead of over 11 weeks, providing students more time to complete course work.

student-workload-comparison

15. Can I finish my master’s level degree before the transition to semesters takes effect in fall 2018?

Students should check with their academic counselor in SAS on the status of their degree requirements.

16. If I am a double major or thinking about switching majors how will this impact me under the semester system?

All students who plan to double major, or are thinking about switching majors, should meet with their assigned academic counselor in SAS to create a plan that will keep them on track toward graduation.

17. I’m a student in the College of Online Education (COE). How does this change affect me?

FAQs for students enrolled in the College of Online Education have been posted to the COE website. View the FAQs.

18. How will converting to semesters impact studying 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 starting in fall 2018 for graduate students.

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

19. If I’m considering transferring to JWU as a full-time, undergraduate student before fall 2020, will all of 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.

20. Where can I find the fall 2018 course schedule?

SAS will have course schedules ready a week before the start of fall 2018 registration in April. Course catalogs are posted on the university's catalog website. The catalog for fall 2018 is scheduled to be available in March 2018.

21. What does the semester calendar look like for 2018-2019?

Generally, under a semester academic calendar, 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 semester will begin in early May and end in mid-August. Links to the academic calendars are posted in the sidebar near the top of the FAQs. 

22. 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

2018-19 Graduate Programs

2018-19 Undergraduate, MAT and MEd

2018-19 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.