The Experts' Choice: Colleges with Unique Calendars

The schools on this list won't be boxed in by the typical two-semester system.

* Highlighted schools are featured

List produced by the Facts

  • Alma College (Alma, MI): Alma uses a 4-4-1 academic calendar (fall and winter semesters of approximately 14 weeks each, followed by a one-month spring term in May). During their matriculation, students are required to take two spring term courses, one of which must cross geographical, cultural, or disciplinary boundaries.
  • Bates College (Lewiston, ME): The Short Term is a five-week period of unusual courses (frequently conducted off campus) that cannot be accommodated during the regular semester.
  • Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO): The academic calendar is organized around taking one class (or block) at a time, four blocks a semester, eight blocks per year. The College also offers a winter half-block and a summer session.
  • Cornell College (Mount Vernon, IA): At this block-plan school, students take one class for 18 days, three to four hours a day, Monday through Friday, followed by a break of four and a half days.
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  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH): The D-Plan, Dartmouth¿s flexible year-round system, allows students to choose which terms to enroll. First-year students and seniors may be required to be on campus during certain terms; sophomores have a required on-campus summer.
  • Elmira College (Elmira, NY): In April and May, Term III is a six-week study opportunity that allows for off-campus learning such as study abroad and internships as well as in-depth exploration of a topic or immersion in a project.
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  • Florida Southern College (Lakeland, FL): Summer sessions (varying from five to 10 weeks each) enable students to take courses online, work toward early graduation, or retake a class to improve their GPA.
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  • Hanover College (Hanover, IN): Fall and winter terms last 17 to 18 weeks each, whereas spring term is only the month of May.
  • Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI): To accommodate experiential learning, the academic calendar provides blocks of time during which students can pursue career development, foreign study, internships, and research.
  • Maharishi University of Management (Fairfield, IA): The University operates on a 12-blocks-per-year system, with students taking one course per month, followed by a three-and-a-half-day rest between each block.
  • Quest University (Can): As at other block-plan schools, studying a single subject every day over a three-week-plus period allows students to focus on and explore an area in depth. With two 16-week semesters of four blocks each and two additional summer blocks, students have the flexibility to tailor their schedule to their needs and interests.
  • Tusculum College (Greeneville, TN): Under the Focused Calendar, another block plan, Tusculum students ¿live and breathe¿ every subject they study.
  • University of Montana — Western (Dillon, MT): With its Experience One program, Montana Western is the only public college in the nation where students take one course at a time.
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA): The WPI academic calendar consists of six terms of approximately seven weeks each.
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