University of Iowa Academic Calendar Principles

The University of Iowa has established certain guidelines that determine the start/end date and length of each session.

*Policy effective as of Fall 2015

Fall Session 

Must match the other Regent institutions Fall session start date based on the following constraints.  

  • Must have 15 weeks of instructional time.
  • Start fall semester on the latest day possible given the following constraints.
  • Have no classes on Labor Day.
  • Have a full-week break at Thanksgiving.
  • Hold commencement no later than December 21 for fall semester.

Winter Session

  • Cannot start before the Winter Holiday break.
  • Must occur during the four weeks between the end of the Fall Session and the beginning of Spring.
  • There cannot be more than four weeks between end of Fall and beginning of Spring.

Spring Session

  • Must have 15 weeks of instructional time.
  • Have no classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • Must start four weeks from the end of the Fall session.
  • Have a full week for Spring Break.

Summer Session (Subsessions)

  • Must have 12 weeks of instructional time.
  • Have no classes on Memorial and Independence Days.
  • 4, 6 week I, and 12 week Subsessions will start the first Tuesday after Spring Commencement weekend.
  • 8 week will begin the Monday after the 4 week Subsession ends.
  • 6 week II will begin the Monday after the 6 week I Subsession ends.

Historical Information on Academic Calendar Principles

There was a committee formed in 2015 to discuss changing the principles of the Academic Calendar with the intent of matching Iowa State's Spring session start date.

Committee membership consists of:

  • Helena Dettmer
  • Lisa Ingram 
  • Doug Lee 
  • Larry Lockwood 
  • Lon Moeller 
  • Shari Piekarski
  • Chet Rzonca 

Key Findings:

  • The UI spring calendar was last reviewed in 2012-2013 by a committee formed by Associate Provost Beth Ingram. As part of that review, Tippie Senior Associate Dean Kurt Anstreicher created a summary of different spring academic calendar options.  Those options were used in helping to determine outcomes of the 2015 commitee meeting.
  • As of 2015: Under the current Ul spring calendar, the number of weeks between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester ranges from 4 to 5 weeks, with winter intersession class days ranging from 16 to 22.
  • The winter intersession was started as a way for students to earn academic credit so that they would be able to graduate in a timely fashion. During the 2014-15 winter intersession, for example, 605 UI students earned 1,710 credit hours in 2014.
  • The UI offers a significant number of study abroad opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students during the winter intersession. The study abroad opportunities include winter intersession classes in London and India as well as the MBA Global Learning Opportunities (GLO) program.
  • Adopting the ISU/UNI spring calendars would require that most, if not all, of the winter intersession study abroad class opportunities be offered only during years when there was at least 14 class session days in the winter intersession, something that occurs on two of the seven years presented in the calendar summaries.
  • Reducing the number of days between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester would also have an impact on colleges that make spring admission decisions during the winter intersession as well as colleges that review student probation/dismissal decisions.

Recommendation:

Although our committee is not recommending a change in the spring calendar to match up with that of UNI and ISU, we are recommending a change in the UI spring calendar such that we avoid (as is currently the case) a winter break that consists of five calendar weeks. Proposal 4 on the calendar attached summary shows a spring UI calendar that would have a consistent four-week break between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester. The one challenge with this proposal would be that one year out of the calendar cycle would require that spring classes start on the week before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. 

The pdf copies of the committee's memos can be viewed below.

PDF icon2015_calendar_committee_memorandum.pdf

PDF icon2012_calendar_memo_-_beth_ingram.pdf

Academic Calendar Principles

Academic Calendar Session Guidelines

The University of Iowa has established certain guidelines that determine the start/end date and length of each session.

Fall Session 

  • Must match Iowa State's Fall session start date based on the following constraints.  
  • Must have 15 weeks of instructional time.
  • Start fall semester on the latest day possible given the following constraints.
  • Have no classes on Labor Day.
  • Have a full-week break at Thanksgiving.
  • Hold commencement no later than December 21 for fall semester.

Winter Session

  • Cannot start before the Winter Holiday break.
  • Must occur during the four weeks between the end of the Fall Session and the beginning of Spring.
  • There cannot be more than four weeks between end of Fall and beginning of Spring.

Spring Session

  • Must have 15 weeks of instructional time.
  • Must start four weeks from the end of the Fall session.
  • Have a full week for Spring Break.

Summer Session (Subsessions)

  • Must have 12 weeks of instructional time.
  • Have no classes on Memorial and Independence Days.
  • 4, 6 week I, and 12 week Subsessions will start the first Tuesday after Spring Commencement weekend.
  • 8 week will begin the Monday after the 4 week Subsession ends.
  • 6 week II will begin the Monday after the 6 week I Subsession ends.

Academic Calendar Historical Information

There was a committee formed in 2015 to discuss changing the principles of the Academic Calendar with the intent of matching Iowa State's Spring session start date.

Committee membership:

  • Helena Dettmer
  • Lisa Ingram 
  • Doug Lee 
  • Larry Lockwood 
  • Lon Moeller 
  • Shari Piekarski
  • Chet Rzonca 

Key Findings:

  • The UI spring calendar was last reviewed in 2012-2013 by a committee formed by Associate Provost Beth Ingram. As part of that review, Tippie Senior Associate Dean Kurt Anstreicher created a summary of different summer academic calendar options.  Those options were used in helping to determine outcomes of the 2015 commitee meeting.
  • As of 2015: Under the current Ul spring calendar, the number of weeks between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester ranges from 4 to 5 weeks, with winter intersession class days ranging from 16 to 22.
  • The winter intersession was started as a way for students to earn academic credit so that they would be able to graduate in a timely fashion. During the 20 I 4-15 winter intersession, for example, 605 UI students earned 1,710 credit hours in 2014.
  • The UI offers a significant number of study abroad opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students during the winter intersession. The study abroad opportunities include winter intersession classes in London and India as well as the MBA Global Learning Opportunities (GLO) program.
  • Adopting the I SU/UNI spring calendars would require that most, if not all, of the winter intersession study abroad class opportunities be offered only during years when there was at least 14 class session days in the winter intersession, something that occurs on two of the seven years presented in the calendar summaries.
  • Reducing the number of days between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester would also have an impact on colleges that make spring admission decisions during the winter intersession as well as colleges that review student probation/dismissal decisions.

Recommendation:

Although our committee is not recommending a change in the spring calendar to match up with that of UNI and ISU, we are recommending a change in the UI spring calendar such that we avoid (as is currently the case) a winter break that consists of five calendar weeks. Proposal 4 on the calendar attached summary shows a spring UI calendar that would have a consistent four-week break between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester. The one challenge with this proposal would be that one year out of the calendar cycle would require that spring classes start on the week before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. 

The pdf copies of the committee's memos can be viewed below.

PDF icon2015_calendar_committee_memorandum.pdf

PDF icon2012_calendar_memo_-_beth_ingram.pdf