Study Guide

How Long Is A College or University Semester? + Classes

For most colleges or universities, an entire school year consists of 2 semester, and each semester is about 75 days of classes. Normally students attend 5 days of classes per week, so 75 days of classes is about 15 weeks of school per semester. Since each year consists of 2 semesters, there will be a total of 150 days of classes every year, and sometimes, it may extend to approximately 180 days of classes.


Accelerated Degree Courses

A typical college or university semester will last a total of 15 to 16 week of school, and this number varies, depending on the type of courses and degrees that you are taking. For example, there are accelerated degree courses, which is also known as the “fast-track” degree, which takes your average three-year undergraduate degree course and condenses it down into a shorter two years instead.

Accelerated programs consist of short online classes. Like mentioned before, a traditional university course lasts about 15 to 16 weeks, but an accelerated bachelor’s program compresses all the courses taught into shorter five-, eight- or ten-week sessions.

They have the same amount of course content as traditional degrees, but you’ll have shorter and fewer holidays so you can complete the course quicker, and the course structures will vary from university to university. Instead of having the typical 15 weeks of school per semester, so 30 weeks of school every year, students studying under the accelerated program will have 40 weeks of school every year, which means 20 weeks, instead of 15 weeks, every school semester. By learning the course contents faster, you will get to earn your degree and graduate sooner. A major advantage for this is that you can save money on course fees and a whole year of accommodation fees.

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Credit Hours

Each class that you take is measured by the amount of “credit hours”, which approximately translate to the amount of time you spend in a particular class every week. For example, 1 credit hour means going for an hour of class each week. Majority of undergraduate classes requires 3 credit hours every week, which means that you need to attend 3 hours of classes for every course that you take in order to graduate.

A typical Bachelor’s degree will usually require students to complete 120 credit hours, and Associate degrees usually requires 60 credit hours. For graduate students, a Master’s degree usually require 36 to 54 credit hours, and a Doctorate degree typically requires 90 to 120 credit hours and a dissertation, in other words, a thesis, which is a document submitted in support for an academic degree or professional qualification and it showcases the one’s research and findings.

A typical undergraduate student will take an average of 5 classes per semester, and with each class being 3 credit hours, they will total up to 15 credit hours per semester, and 30 credit hours per year, and after an undergraduate degree of 4 years, it adds up to 120 credit hours in order to graduate.

If you did not opt for an accelerated degree course, or your university does not offer courses like these, fret not! You can actually choose to undertake more courses every semester. Not only will you be able to graduate earlier, but you also save money from university tuition fees. For example, one of my friends is studying in the United States right now, and he took on 3 additional classes for each semester, and will hence be graduating a whole year earlier than the rest of his peers. What he did was that he was exempted from certain classes, for example, Mathematics. Because he took the A Levels in Singapore, the course materials at university is similar to the A Level content, and he applied for a course exemption and that was approved. With less classes to take, he use this extra time to take on other courses that will earn him credit hours, hence allowing him to study in advance of his peers and earn his degree earlier.

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Online Degrees

Online degree programs are designed to allow students to juggle and balance other life responsibilities, like work and family, while earning credit hours towards a university or college degree. Online degrees have a flexible schedule, and students must be self-motivated in the learning process and submit their course works on time. For example, I have a friend who is working part-time and uses the extra time to earn an online degree in nursing. One of my close relatives also took an online Master’s degree studying Business Management, while juggling a job and looking after his few months old daughter. It all comes down to time management and self-discipline. Now, there is more and more focus in online degrees as there are more people trying to further their education.


Most colleges or universities have 2 semesters, each lasting 15 to 16 weeks of school. At university or college level, your education is pretty flexible and it is up to you to make the most out of it.

To graduate and obtain a degree, students must meet a certain number of credit hours, and it depends on one’s level of study, either Bachelor’s degree, Associate degree, Master’s degree, or Doctorate degree. You can choose to shorten your length of university years by either taking on Accelerated Degree Courses, or taking on more classes every semester. You can not only graduate and start your career earlier, but you can also save money in your university fees, from tuition fees to accommodation fees.

There are also other ways where you can procure a quality education than the typical school and classroom setting. Online degrees are getting more and more popular, and they are a great option for those who have other responsibilities to attend to, and at the same time, want to further their studies.

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