Why Semesters?

Beginning in fall 2016, the College of Professional Studies undergraduate programs will adopt a semester calendar. The transition represents a shift that a vast majority of undergraduate colleges and universities have made to accommodate for more in-depth course content, a collaborative learning environment, and an easier credit transfer process. 

What Does the Semester Conversion Mean?


For “transition” students—those who began their undergraduate certificate or degree program under the quarter system but will finish under the semester system—the change means:

A more in-depth learning experience — The quarter system divides the year into four 10- to 12-week periods, while the semester system spans three 15-week terms. Students will spend the same amount of time per week in class, and they will have three to five additional weeks to absorb the course content, which faculty will now have the opportunity to cover in greater depth and breadth. 

A more seamless credit transfer process — Because most colleges and universities already follow a semester system, our transition will better align us with our peer institutions. By shifting from quarters to semesters, we hope to facilitate credit transfer in the future and create a more straightforward path to your graduation.

What We Promise


No change in degree completion
— The semester conversion will have no effect on your graduation timetable if you work with your academic advisor to create and follow a transition plan. To aid a smooth transition, students who begin a course sequence—such as Biology 1, 2, and 3 or Financial Accounting 1 and 2—should make every attempt to complete all courses in the two-or three-course sequence on the quarter system or delay beginning sequences until the conversion has taken place. Please visit the Financial FAQ page for more details.

No increased tuition costs — The transition from quarters to semesters will not increase total annual tuition costs. What will change is the billing and payments cycle. Rather than four quarterly payments, you will be making three semester payments. That means each semester payment will be higher, but the overall total for the year will not change. Note: Northeastern could implement annual tuition increases as deemed necessary and authorized by the university Board of Trustees.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your advisor. We have also set up a special email address for you to use: CPS-semester@northeastern.edu.

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