We collected every email and every tweet from the 2020 Democratic primary.
What we found might surprise you.

How Long Is a Semester? Guide to College Term Length

Derek Doeing
Derek Doeing  |  October 18, 2019

As the school year goes on, students all across the country are feeling the days and weeks drag on.

In my time at college, keeping track of what week it was in the semester was crucial for staying on top of assignments, exams, and other class events. Knowing how long you have to complete that term paper or another huge project can mean all the difference.

On the other hand, students are also posing questions like this and how many weeks are in a school year to countdown how much time is left until graduation or holiday breaks.

Academic term lengths

A semester is the general standard in the U.S. educational system, but it’s not the only form of college term. Keep reading to learn about how long a semester, trimester, and summer term are.

academic term length


A semester is when the academic year is split into two halves. These halves are each about  15 weeks long and separated by about three weeks of break time. Many collegiate semesters have weeks unofficially referred to as syllabus week, midterms, dead week, and finals.


A trimester is when the academic year is split into thirds. Each third is about 12 weeks long with longer breaks separating them. These trimesters typically commence in March, July, and November with breaks in between each 12 week period. 

Summer terms

A summer term is typically 12 weeks long and usually begins in late May or early June depending on the institution. Also consider that classes during summer terms may take place only online or in a blended course.

Further reading

If you’re a student reading this article, G2 has plenty more resources for you such as identifying and avoiding plagiarism, in addition to MLA and APA formatting guides. We also recommend finding the best calendar software to keep your academic year productive and joyful. 

See the Easiest-to-Use Calendar Software →


Derek Doeing

Derek Doeing

Derek is with G2 specializing in HR and Recruitment trends and insights. He's a recent graduate of Iowa State University and a proud son of Chicago. Can usually be found discussing pop music, politics, and digital marketing on the internet. (he/him/his)