Q2S: Quarters to Semesters
Information and FAQs for Currently Enrolled Students
During the coming months, you will hear lots of discussion about the academic-calendar transition—or, more simply stated—the change from quarters to semesters at Ohio University.
The Ohio University Board of Trustees must give final approval to the change to semesters. The three other state institutions still on quarters (Wright State University, Ohio State University, and University of Cincinnati) are also in the process of acting on the recommendation by the Ohio Board of Regents for a universal academic calendar. To ensure the best outcome for Ohio University students and faculty in a change to semesters, the planning process for the change is underway.
As we begin the planning process there are a number of unknowns, but here are some things that Ohio University students can count on:
- Any current student, including those starting fall 2008, whose graduation will occur before the fall of 2012, should not be affected in any way by the academic calendar transition. If you do graduate after fall 2012, you will be affected by this process and will be considered a "transition" student.
- The process is slated to take four years. There will be no incremental changes during this time. All of your degree requirements in place now will remain in place for the duration of the four-year planning process. When we move to semesters, the changeover will occur all at once - at a single point in time.
- The Quarters-to-Semesters Transition Team, a group of faculty, students, and staff, has been tasked with the critical function of recommending guidelines and identifying resources that will ensure that any Ohio University transition student making acceptable progress toward a degree will not be disadvantaged by the conversion from a quarter-based calendar to semesters.
- Transition students will be fully informed of how to complete their degrees through the use of intensive advising and new technology designed for that purpose.
The faculty, staff, and administrators of Ohio University are committed to your success. The paramount "Guiding Principle" of the conversion to semesters is stated as follows:
If your graduation will take place in fall of 2012 or after, and you:
- Maintain a full-time course load;
- Earn passing grades;
- Meet with your advisor and follow advising directives as well as the graduation requirements spelled out in the catalog;
...then you should be able to graduate within the same anticipated timeframe regardless of the academic calendar transition.
Why is Ohio University moving from a quarter- to a semester-based academic calendar?
Many current Ohio University students prefer the present quarter system. Students often point to the advantages of having shorter periods of instruction and an academic calendar that provides a long winter break. Most currently enrolled students will finish out their degrees with these advantages in place. The conversion will have the most significance for students who are enrolled at the university beginning in fall 2012.
The creation of the University System of Ohio in March 2008, with strong bipartisan support across the state, has already ensured that the education of future Ohio University students will be different in many ways than the education of current Ohio University students.
One of the major goals of the University System of Ohio is to create new academic opportunities that allow students to take advantage of the resources of state universities regardless of the location of their home institution. When a student at Ohio University would like to take a class that is not offered at our institution the University System of Ohio wants to enable that student, through the use of distance education technology, to have access to that course at another Ohio university. The University System of Ohio also aims to build new degree programs that span institutions. A common calendar is the first step in creating new and important opportunities for future generations of Ohio University students.
Although future students of the university will not enjoy the advantages of shorter periods of instruction or a long winter break, they will have opportunities that current Ohio University students do not have, such as:
- Additional class time for the faculty to explore in greater depth the topics of study. This also gives students more time to absorb the class material and build a more solid base of knowledge to assist in future classes and careers. It is often hard to finish major projects and papers in 10 weeks. Semesters give students greater breathing room in doing more in-depth work.
- The chance to be more competitive for internships and permanent positions because of an earlier end to the academic year.
- Greater ease of transfer between institutions and academic exchange programs, with an academic calendar consistent with the majority of colleges and universities in the United States, in Ohio, and around the world.
What if I don't graduate until after 2012?
If you do not graduate by fall 2012, you will be considered a transition student like all students starting at Ohio University after fall 2008. Ohio University is committed to making the process as smooth as possible for all transition students and to ensuring that you will not be disadvantaged in the process. This is not the first time that Ohio University has changed its academic calendar, and several other major universities have recently made a calendar change. Be assured Ohio University will be prepared to assist you throughout the process.
What is the Quarters-to-Semesters (Q2S) Transition Team?
The Q2S Transition Team is a group of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and a member of the Athens community. The group is charged with helping the university to articulate its blueprint for the four-year semester conversion process.
Will the financial aid of transition students be altered by the conversion to semesters?
If you are a transition student, you will receive the same financial aid annual amounts per eligibility as established by the awards you receive. However, the amounts will be divided between two semesters as opposed to three quarters.
Will tuition and fees be higher under a semester-based academic calendar?
No. The cost to attend Ohio University for an entire academic year is unaffected by the academic calendar. Tuition and fees as well as financial aid and scholarships will be divided between two semesters versus three quarters in an academic year. Ohio University will continue to offer a monthly payment plan that will allow students and their families the ability to budget education expenses over the course of an academic year.
When will Ohio University transition from a quarter- to a semester-based academic calendar?
Pending approval by the Ohio University Board of Trustees, tentative plans have targeted fall 2012 as the effective conversion term to begin a semester-based academic calendar. Again, this means that if you are a current student you should not be affected by the transition. If you do not graduate by fall 2012, you will, however, be a transition student. In that case, be assured that Ohio University will make every effort to ensure that the process is as seamless for you as possible.
What is the difference between a quarter- and a semester-based academic calendar?
Under both the quarter and the semester academic calendars, the academic year is approximately 30 weeks in addition to summer sessions of varying lengths. Our quarter calendar comprises three 10-week quarters and two summer sessions, while a semester calendar comprises two semesters and generally 1-3 summer sessions. The overall classroom contact hours (actual time spent in instruction) will remain the same over the course of an entire academic year.
If I am a transition student, will my anticipated graduation date change as a result of the transition to a semester-based academic calendar?
No. Ohio University is committed to working with you and all enrolled students on the quarter calendar to ensure all can meet their graduation date. If you are involved in the transition, you can expect to complete your degree in four years under the semester-based academic calendar, assuming that you make acceptable progress in your academic program.
How will this affect my winter and summer break schedules?
It will not affect your winter and summer break schedules unless you are a transition student. The typical semester-based calendar has a fall semester that begins in late August and ends in early December, and a spring semester that begins in mid-January and ends in early May. It is one of the tasks of the Quarters-to-Semesters Transition Team to make recommendations on the timing of winter and summer breaks.
If I am a transition student will I have to take more hours under a semester-based academic calendar?
No. A course conversion process will be undertaken that includes a commitment to transition students to maintain the current number of classroom contact hours over the course of a year. Under both the quarter and the semester academic calendar, the academic year is approximately 30 weeks in addition to summer sessions of varying lengths. Our quarter calendar comprises three 10-week quarters and two summer sessions, while a semester calendar comprises two semesters and 1-3 summer sessions. The overall classroom contact hours (actual time spent in classroom instruction) will remain the same over the course of an entire academic year.
Who will be affected by the transition to a semester-based academic calendar?
Any student enrolled in the university when the transition takes place (fall 2012) as well as those who enroll after this date will be affected.
What if I have specific questions about the effect of the transition on my academic progress?
You need to be concerned about the effect of the transition only if you will still be pursuing your degree in fall 2012 or beyond. We are at the very beginning of this process, so the extent to which specific questions can be answered is limited. The Q2S Transition Team will complete its work before the start of spring quarter 2009. At that time, answers to specific questions will be more readily available.
In the interim, you are encouraged to maintain regular, ongoing contact with your academic advisor. As the conversion process unfolds, a concerted effort will be made to keep advisors informed about ways to assist transition students.