Academic Year in the USA

Similar to the course offerings and tuition fees, there is no uniform regulation regarding the organization of the academic year in the USA.

Generally speaking, it can be said that an academic year in the USA usually lasts nine or ten months. The academic year begins in autumn (August / September) and ends in the late spring (May / June)

Semester Breaks in the USA

In the summer months, during the summer break, summer sessions are held at many universities in the USA. Many students also use this time to catch up on failed courses.

In addition to the semester break in the summer, the academic year in the USA provides for a holiday of up to four weeks around the turn of the year. In addition, there are two short interruptions to the academic year: in March on the occasion of the Spring Break and at the end of November due to Thanksgiving.

Breakdown of the academic year in the USA

There are several models for dividing the academic year in the USA. Universities are usually based on either the semester or trimester system.

Semester System USA

The most common variant is the semester system. As in Germany, the academic year is divided into two semesters of 16-18 weeks: the Spring Semester and the Fall Semester.

Semester Period
Fall August – December
Spring January – May
(Summer) May – August

Trimester system USA

At some universities in the USA, however, the trimester system has prevailed. The academic year is thus divided into three parts:

Terms Period
Fall September – December
Winter January – March
Spring March – June
Summer June – August

The Summer Term is officially not part of the academic year in the USA, as it falls within the lecture-free period. Due to the fact that many universities still hold summer sessions during this time, some universities speak of four quarters. In fact, however, they are three trimesters.