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FAQ: Students


What are the differences and similarities between a quarter system and a semester system?

Both the quarter and semester models require at least 147 instructional days during the academic year. The semester system divides the year into two terms of 15 instructional weeks, typically beginning in August and ending in May. An optional summer term is also available. The quarter system divides the academic year into three terms per year of 10 weeks each, typically beginning in September and ending in June, plus an optional summer term.

When will the semester term start at California State University, San Bernardino?

Fall 2020 - August 24, 2020 (Saturday classes begin August 22, 2020.)

Why are we switching to semesters?

Being on the semester calendar, which will begin in August and end in May, will put us in alignment with the other California State University campuses, our California Community Colleges, and more than 90% of colleges and universities nationwide.  This will make it easier for transfer students to apply course credits toward degree completion.  It will also make it easier for all students to compete on the summer job market because CSUSB students will now be available at the same time as those attending other universities.  The semester calendar will also align better with the K-12 school-year calendar, supporting those of you who are also caregivers or parents of younger children.

In addition to aligning our calendar with other schools, semesters will also create more opportunities to participate in internships, field experiences, and community engagement projects on and off the campus and more time to absorb and learn course material.

Another benefit will be that students will only need to register for classes, pay fees, and complete other administrative tasks twice a year rather than three times a year.

When will the Academic Year 2020-21 catalog be available?

The first semester catalog for CSUSB will be available on May 4, 2020. Please go to for the latest catalog.

What will the summer session preceding Fall 2020 conversion to semesters look like?

The last summer on quarters (Summer 2020) will be a 5-week session, from June 22, 2020 through July 23, 2020, with finals on July 27-28, 2020.

How will the semester calendar affect commencement?

Two commencements will still be offered. Fall commencement ceremonies will be held in December while Spring commencement ceremonies will be held in May.

With the semester system, will there be a fall and spring admission period?

Yes, although we will continue to admit the majority of our undergraduate students during the fall admission cycle, while graduate programs, self-support programs, and special populations may include a spring and/or summer admission cycle.

How is Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) involved in semester conversion?

Associated Students Incorporated officers serve as members of the Q2S steering and subcommittees and they participate fully in the process.  We also included both graduate and undergraduate students who are not members of ASI in focus groups and information sessions to ensure that the student voice and perspective is included and helps to shape decisions regarding the conversion.

Will the class size and number of class sections offered increase with semester conversion?

Class sizes are dependent on a wide range of factors including pedagogy (teaching practices), department full-time equivalency targets, availability of instructors, and numbers of students needing to take the course.  The same factors will be at play with the semester system and will inform class size and number of course sections.

What will my schedule look like under the semester model?

Currently, undergraduate students need to complete 180-quarter units to graduate. That works out to 45 units per year for four years, or 15 units per quarter.  Most quarter courses are 4-units, so a student will typically take four (4) courses per term to graduate in four years.

Under the semester model, students will need to complete 120-semester units to graduate. That works out to 30 units per year for four years, or 15 units per semester.  Most semester courses are 3-units, so a student will typically take five (5) courses per term to graduate in four years.

The length of a semester is 15 instructional weeks, as compared to 10 instructional weeks in the quarter model.  Class sessions will be shorter but the time over the entire term will be longer, 45 hours for a 3-unit semester class whereas it is 40 hours for a 4-unit quarter class.

Advising & Completing the Degree

What does it mean to be on semester catalog requirements?

Semester catalog requirements are the major and general education requirements listed in the Academic Year 2020/21 catalog. Whether you are following quarter or semester catalog requirements, courses you take under the quarter system or under the semester system apply towards your degree requirements, if applicable. Talk with your Academic Advisor to discuss how changing your catalog requirements impact your time to degree. Here is the form to request to change to semester catalog requirements:

How do I change my catalog requirements to semester catalog requirements?

I changed my mind, I prefer my previous quarter catalog requirements. How do I change my catalog requirements back to quarter catalog requirements?

Will all of my quarter units count toward my degree following the conversion?

Yes. Please see our Student Pledge, which pledges that a student's earned credits will not be lost in the conversion.

Does the graduate student need to do anything to prepare for semester conversion?

In order to plan a course of study that leads to successful completion of your degree, without loss of credit, you should meet with your Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Advisor as soon as possible.  If you are nearing completion of your degree, make every effort to graduate prior to the conversion in Fall 2020.  If you are not nearing completion, work with your Graduate Coordinator or Advisor to develop a plan of study to make the transition. If there are quarter courses that will not have a semester equivalent, either plan to take those courses prior to Fall 2020 or work with your coordinator/advisor to determine an acceptable semester course substitution.

What is MyCAP?

myCAP is an academic planning tool, which allows students to plan courses to take throughout their academic career.

What can I do to prepare for the conversion?

See your academic advisor to determine if the conversion will affect your program of study.

Who is my academic advisor?

You can find out who your academic advisor is by going to this link:

Tuition, Fees & Financial Aid

Will the cost of student housing be affected by the conversion to semester?

No. Regardless of whether it is a quarter or semester academic schedule the rent/meals are based on a similar amount of days in the academic year. Student Housing and Residence Life will continue to contract with students from the start of school and the contract will run through the last day of finals. Housing and Residential Education is committed to offering continuous housing to ensure our students will retain the right to stay on campus during the break period with full access to their residential hall. Contact Housing and Residential Education.

Will tuition cost more under the semester calendar?

No. For undergraduate students, under the semester system the same fee structure will apply. See CSU Fee Schedules. The annual cost of your education will not be impacted by the quarter to semester transition. However, the cost per term will be higher on semesters because there are only 2 semesters, which means annual fee is divided in half (as opposed to the quarter system, where the annual fee is divided into thirds because there are three quarters).

For graduate students, the amount of tutition will vary depending on your program.

How will semester conversion affect my financial aid package?

Semester conversion should not affect your financial aid package. While the semester schedule will decrease the number of financial aid check disbursements, your financial aid is awarded for the academic year regardless of whether the school’s calendar is quarter or semester based. Financial aid recipients will see an adjustment in their award packages to accommodate this difference. The Office of Financial Aid will advise students on the impact semester conversion may have, if any, on their financial aid eligibility.

Will the cost of parking be affected by the conversion to semester?

The cost per term will be higher because there are only 2 terms (semesters) vs. 3 terms (quarters); however, the cost for the annual academic year will not be affected by the semester conversion.

Student Services on Campus

How will semesters affect student study abroad and summer opportunities?

CSUSB will be in sync with other semester campuses so that students may participate in the curricular and co-curricular activities offered by campuses.  Some of these activities may include study abroad programs, internships, and National Student Exchange Programs.

How will semesters affect student services on campus?

Over the academic year, the student services provided will not be interrupted. On the contrary, offices will make adjustments to ensure that students are supported before, during, and after the conversion to semesters.