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Quarter to Semester Conversion

CSUSB is moving to semesters in FALL 2020

In his Fall 2014 convocation address, President Tomás Morales identified the conversion of CSUSB from a quarter to a semester academic calendar as a critical step for the University. Currently 109 of the 112 California Community Colleges (CCC) reside on a semester calendar. By switching to a semester calendar, CSUSB will better align with the CCCs improving articulation into CSUSB. The vast majority of transfer students come from the CCCs. Local CCC are on semesters, and moving to semesters will help us recruit students and simplify many of our administrative processes.  When CSUSB begins the semester calendar in the fall of 2020, we will join 21 other CSU campuses. The  semester conversion will align our academic calendar with the other CSU campuses, our CCCs, and more than 90% of colleges and universities nationwide.

A clear benefit of semester conversion is a smooth transition for transfer students, enabling them to transfer course credits more easily and apply them towards degree completion. Moreover, Chancellor Timothy White has agreed to pay a substantial proportion of the funding for quarter to semester conversion ("Q2S").

As of Fall 2019, 21 of the CSU campuses are on semesters, with CSU Bakersfield, Los Angeles, East Bay and Cal Poly being the latest to join semesters. CSU San Bernardino will join the ranks fall 2020 leaving Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as the only quarter calendar campus in the CSU system.

In the 1980s, approximately 25% of the U.S. colleges and universities followed a quarter calendar. Today, less than 10% use quarter terms. Despite a majority of University of California campuses observing the quarter system, the national trend is moving from quarters to semesters. For example, in 2012, to align with other state universities, all state institutions in Ohio were converted to the semester system. Then, in 2013, The Rochester Institute of Technology also completed conversion to semesters.

When CSUSB becomes a semester calendar campus, there should be an increased number of summer internship opportunities for our students because the calendar will allow CSUSB students to become more competitive nationwide (many internships have start dates in late May or early June). Also, graduating students will be able to start in their positions earlier rather than late June or early July.

Letter from President Morales and Provost McMahan

Dear Members of the CSUSB Campus Community:

In response to a decision made by the CSU system, our university is transitioning its academic calendar to the semester system, beginning in Fall 2020. This is an opportunity for the campus to work together to re-imagine the best pedagogical and learning experiences that we might provide for our students.  So, while this undertaking is a challenge on many levels, once achieved it will certainly benefit the entire CSUSB community.

Under the semester system, our students will continue to receive a strong educational experience. The expanded timeframe will provide additional study time and increased interaction with faculty while allowing for more in-depth projects, quality research and expanded internship opportunities.

Faculty will also have more classroom time to engage students in active discussion and research and to provide more substantive feedback to students on their work. Such additional support and greater opportunities for mentoring are sure to contribute positively to student learning and retention.

This change will also better align CSUSB with other colleges and universities. It will offer greater opportunities for collaborative efforts with CSU-member institutions and provide an easier transition for those students entering from community colleges or other semester-based schools.

The transition to a semester calendar is a long and intensive process. It will involve nearly every aspect of campus life and operation, requiring extensive curriculum revision, cost analysis, budgeting, and procedural review. While some areas will require relatively minor adjustments, others will be making broad changes to better meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff.

Staff will be key partners in this initiative, as they provide support for campus processes and logistics as well as supporting the work that our faculty do and ensuring that our students receive the best educational experience that we can offer.

Student success remains our top priority at CSUSB. We pledge to help students stay on track and supply guidelines for how to graduate on schedule. Faculty and professional advisors will be available to assist students in outlining an individualized plan to attain their academic goals. However, along with the faculty and staff, students are encouraged to be active participants in this process including meeting regularly with academic advisor(s), openly discussing goals and asking questions, and remaining aware of timeline to graduation.

We want to emphasize that CSUSB is committed to making this a smooth transition for all involved. This dedicated website has been established to provide access to details involving the process and its progress. It will also serve as a resource where information will be made available in a timely fashion.

This important transition calls for a collaborative investment of time, energy and dedication by all sectors of our university. We are confident we have the talent and the capability to meet this challenge and establish a legacy that will benefit our campus for generations to come.


Tomás D. Morales                                                 Shari McMahan

President and Provost Signatures

President                                                                     Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs