MSOE Quarter to Semester Conversion
Faculty and staff have developed a Semester Conversion Guide to help undergraduate students understand the process as they move from the quarter-based academic calendar to the semester-based model.
The move to a semester-based model comes as a result of MSOE’s strategic plan, which was developed by a cross-section of MSOE faculty, staff, students and alumni and approved by the Board of Regents. The plan called for MSOE to evaluate the current academic calendar model, as well as additional models, to ensure that the chosen model helps our students be successful in meeting their academic and professional goals while meeting the needs of our stakeholders (employers, corporate partners, alumni, etc.).
A task force was then convened to carry out this direction. After a year of researching all aspects of several academic calendar models, and soliciting input from MSOE stakeholders through meetings, surveys and interviews, the task force recommended that MSOE change to a semester-based model. Their recommendation was approved by the MSOE Leadership Team and is supported by the MSOE Board of Regents. The entire MSOE community is committed to working with each and every student to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible with no disruption to financial aid or time to completion.
- MSOE’s reputation for excellence is well known and its graduates are highly sought after for their quality, character, professionalism and ability to solve even the most complex challenges on day one.
- Even with this reputation and strong graduate outcomes, MSOE’s strategic plan challenges us to be extraordinary—modeling continuous improvement by seeking every possible advantage we can deliver as we prepare our students for a lifetime of professional and personal success.
- Our research has shown there is a movement toward the semester model for top-tier institutions with fewer than 10% of institutions like MSOE continuing to operate on a quarter system (down from 25% in the 1980s). MSOE’s application-oriented approach to teaching and learning is the main driver of our students’ success. Our approach will not change once we transition to a semester model. There are a number of factors that support this transition:
- Transfer students will find their transition and transfer of credits to MSOE to be smoother.
- The semester model will offer access to student exchange and study abroad opportunities with most international universities following a traditional semester model.
- The move to a semester model will better align with the needs of our industry partners.
- A semester-based calendar will not compromise time to degree or the expectations associated with an MSOE education. This transition will support student success by:
- Giving students the opportunity to digest what they are learning and dive deeper into the course content during additional time they’ll have for each course.
- Offering greater opportunity for high-impact educational practices and experiential learning.
- Allowing time within the academic calendar to recover from illness or other interruptions in their schedules.
- Offering interim terms in the future with additional study abroad opportunities and course offerings to improve student retention, success and persistence.
- A semester-based calendar will not impact MSOE’s traditional academic expectations or approach to teaching. Our students will continue to receive an application-oriented education and be prepared to hit the ground running.
- Our commitment to the MSOE Mindset will not change, and a semester-based calendar supports our belief that our students will become graduates who are leaders of character, responsible professionals, passionate learners and value creators.
MSOE plans to implement a semester-based calendar at the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year. Faculty and staff will use the time until then to plan for the transition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What will the academic calendar look like?
Instead of three 10-week quarters, we will transition to two 15-week semesters. Each semester will conclude with a final exam week. There will no longer be a winter quarter that is interrupted by the holiday break. Academic calendars are available in the MSOE Catalog.
Will students learn less information? More information? Will the class offerings change?
Students will not miss out on any learning opportunities. Courses are being rewritten, and faculty are working diligently to incorporate all subject matter into to the new system. More information regarding course names, numbers, content and equivalencies will be shared as the curriculum is redeveloped. Students will continue to receive an application-oriented education and be prepared to hit the ground running.
How will this affect students who are currently enrolled? Will the required number of credit hours to graduate change?
There will be no change to students' anticipated graduation dates. Currently enrolled students will have an individualized transition plan which includes their time on the current quarter calendar and remaining time on a semester calendar. The required number of credit hours to graduate will be adjusted accordingly. More information will be shared as the quarter to semester unit conversion is determined. We are very student-centric at MSOE and are committed to work with every student to make sure they move through the transition as seamlessly as possible.
Will tuition costs change?
Overall annual tuition costs will not change as a result of the transition to semesters. On the semester calendar, payments will be simplified to be due twice per year instead of three times.
Will financial aid and scholarships be affected?
If students continue to meet the federal and institutional requirements, converting to a semester calendar will not affect the total amount of financial aid students may receive. Aid will be divided equally among two semesters and disbursed twice per year instead of three times. The refund process will remain the same—financial aid will be applied to student accounts and any excess funds (refund) will be returned by direct deposit (if students are signed up for this service) or through the mail.
Who should students contact if they have questions pertaining to their individual academic situation?
Students should contact their faculty advisor, academic program director or chair of their academic department.