Milwaukee School of Engineering is transitioning from a quarter-based academic calendar to a traditional semester model in fall 2023. MSOE will offer a fall semester and a spring semester, and each will be 16 weeks long (15 week of instruction and one week for final exams).  

The change was first brought forward as an idea during MSOE’s strategic planning process in 2017. After lengthy discussion a task force was convened to evaluate several academic calendar models to ensure that the chosen model would help students be successful in meeting their academic and professional goals while meeting the needs of MSOE’s employers, corporate partners and alumni. 

Following a year of research and soliciting input from MSOE stakeholders through meetings, surveys and interviews, the task force recommended that MSOE change to a semester-based model. This recommendation was approved by MSOE’s Leadership Team and is supported by the Board of Regents.  

Research shows that MSOE is part of a shrinking group of institutions that follow a quarter-based academic calendar. In the 1980s, about 25% of top-tier institutions were on a quarter system. By 2019, that number dropped to fewer than 10%.  

The transition to semesters will further support student success, persistence and retention in a number of ways. Students will have greater opportunity to digest what they are learning and dive deeper into the course content. There will be more opportunity for high-impact educational practices and experiential learning. And when it comes to internships, co-ops and industry-sponsored projects, the semester model better aligns with our industry partners’ needs—which will give students richer real-world experiences.  

The semester model will offer access to student exchange and study abroad opportunities with most international universities following a traditional semester model, and MSOE will be able to offer more study abroad options and course offerings during interim terms. It also allows for a smoother transition and transfer of credits to MSOE for transfer students.  

The new curricula will not compromise time to degree and students will not miss out on any learning opportunities—all subject matter has been incorporated into the new system.  

Students enrolled at MSOE who are not graduating before fall 2023 will have an individualized transition plan that includes their time on the quarter calendar and remaining time on the semester calendar. Throughout Fall Quarter 2022, academic advisors will be developing and evaluating these transition plans and reviewing them with students.  

Find more information about the semester conversion at