SUBJECT: Academic Calendar Criteria


AUTHORIZED BY: Assistant Dean for Student Affairs date 9/17/99

APPROVED BY: Dean of the University date



The University of South Carolina adopted the Early Semester Calendar in the 1970's.  Fall semester begins late in August and ends in December before Christmas; Spring semester begins about the middle of January and ends about the middle of May.  Students enrolled in 12 hours or more are considered full-time in a regular semester.

The distinguishing features of the Early Semester Calendars are that one ends before the Christmas holiday season, and the other ends in mid-May.


The University of South Carolina has established a standard of 70 days for classes and seven examination days for the Fall and Spring semesters with a minimum of 2100 minutes of instruction (actual time in class).  The calendar standard is a combination of 28 Tuesday and Thursday classes of 75 minutes per class meeting and 42 Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes of 50 minutes per class meeting.  In 1974, the Faculty Senate established a Reading/Review Day prior to the beginning of examinations for the Fall and Spring semesters; on this day, classes are not held.

Sixteen week courses meeting one day a week will need to meet for 2 hours and 45 minutes to comply with the University standard of 2100 minutes of instruction.


Summer calendars consist of two terms with multiple sessions within the terms. Generally, these sessions consist of 18 class days of 120 minutes for a total of 2160 minutes of instruction and two examination days.

The beginning date of summer sessions is coordinated as closely as possible with the ending date of the public school calendar. Summer terms of varying length may be accommodated if the minimum of 2100 minutes of instruction is met.



Evening Calendars consist of two 8-week sessions. These sessions consist of 15 Monday/Wednesday classes and 15 Tuesday/Thursday classes for Spring and 15 Monday/Wednesday classes and 15 Tuesday/Thursday for Fall with the final examinations given on the last class day. The classes consist of 165 minutes per class meeting for a total of 2640 minutes of actual instruction time in class.

The beginning date of evening classes is coordinated to where the first 8-weeks will begin along with the established date for classes for the semester. The second 8-week begins after the midpoint of the semester and ends prior to the official ending date for the semester. Students are able to complete 12 hours in two 8-week sessions.


The calendar standards for USC Sumter courses are the same regardless of the class meeting locations.


Official ending day is usually Commencement Day.  However, the official ending date of the Fall semester has traditionally been December 31st. This procedure came about when the OSCAR System (On-line Registration) was implemented. Because this system was implemented, the military terms had to be eliminated because the system only supported four semesters in a years and each day in the year had to be accounted for. There was no set pattern in choosing the dates for each semester. The "Begin" and "end" dates were chosen to ensure the true dates for each term.


Martin Luther King, Jr., Service day is the second or third Monday in January.

Spring Break is the second week in March for the Spring semester.


Commencement day is set by the Office of the Dean. Normally, this date is the second Wednesday following the last day of Spring II examinations. 

Independence Day holiday is July 4th (If July 4th falls on the weekend, the Friday before becomes the official holiday.)

Labor Day holiday is the first Monday in September.

Fall Break is the Thursday and Friday in October prior to the beginning of the Fall II session.

Election Day holiday is the General Election Day in November of each even-numbered year.  This holiday was established by State Law (R119, 112259, May 13, 1977).

Thanksgiving holidays are the last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in November for students and the last Thursday and Friday for staff.

Christmas holidays for students begin after the final examination period for Fall term in December and prior to the first day of classes for Spring in January.


Calendars that are presented for providing the same total number of class minutes in shorter calendar time must be critically evaluated. Credit should never be awarded in any course when there is a ratio of less than 700 minutes of actual instruction time in a class of group work per credit hour.


One credit hour is usually assigned to a class that meets fifty minutes a week over a period of a semester, quarter, or term. In labs, fieldwork, drawing, music, practical arts, physical education, or similar type of instruction, one credit hour is assigned for a session that meets two or three hours a week for a semester, quarter, or term. Studio, the form of instruction not totally lecture or lab, but a combination of both, may have a special credit-hour ratio set midway between the two primary types of instruction.


16 Week Term 5th class day (excepting holidays Total # of Class Meetings X .07


8 Week Term Student must register before the second class meets.

Summer Term (5 weeks)?2nd class day (expecting holidays) Total # of Class Meetings X .07


16 Week Term 30th class day. A "WF" will be recorded for any course dropped after the first six weeks Total # of Class Meetings X .43

 8 Week Term 1/3 of the total class days = 5th class day (the count starts from the second day of the term.  This allows equal time for MW and TTh students to drop.) If the 2nd day of the class is a Tuesday, count only Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the 5th day.  Do not count consecutive (MTWTh) class days.

Summer Term (5 weeks) 1/3 of the total class days = 8th class day (classes normally meet 5 days a week for 5 weeks.)Total # of Class Meetings X .33















Day of week on which January 1 falls

Day of week and date in January for first day of classes

Martin Luther King, Jr., Service Holiday

First day of Spring Break


Monday 14

January 21

March 11


Monday 13

January 20

March 10


Monday 12

January 19

March 10


Monday 11

January 18

March 8


Monday 10

January 17

March 7


Monday 9

January 16

March 6


Monday 8

January 25

March 4



  1. There will be no classes held on the Martin Luther King, Jr., Service Holiday.

2.?An assumption of these calendars is that there will be 14 classes in an 8-week program and a 15th meeting for the final examination. This enables Spring I to end before Spring Break and Spring II to begin after Spring Break. Also, it means that the number of class meetings for the Spring 8-week sessions will be the same as those in the Fall 8-week sessions.

3.?The date for the first day of Spring Break will be one day earlier in a leap year.


4.?When January 1 falls on Tuesday, classes could start on Wednesday (9) so that the 16-week session would end earlier. This would have no effect on the dates for Spring Break.

5.?When January 1 falls on Monday, classes could start on Wednesday (10) and push Spring Break to March 12.

The Office of the Registrar in Columbia set the following guidelines. This became effective Summer 1989.

The term structure will consist of the following dates:

Fall August 16 - December 31

Spring January 1 - May 15

Summer I May 16 - June 30

Summer II July 1 - August 15

To designate a session as belonging to a particular term, the dates of the session must consume some of the dates for that particular term. For examination for a session to be considered a Fall term session, it must have some calendar days within the August 16 - December 31 range.

Generally, there are no restrictions as to how far in advance of August 16 or how far beyond December 31 a session may extend and still be designated as Fall, as long as the above rule is met.

Administrative Restrictions:

1. ?Any sessions that end during the Fall term will belong to the Fall term.

2. ?Any sessions that end during the Spring term will belong to the Spring term.

3. ?a.?Any sessions that end during the Summer I term will ???belong to the Summer I term.

 ?b. ?Any sessions that begin during the Summer I term, and ???ends prior to the end of the Summer II term will ????belong to the Summer I term.

4. ?Any sessions that begin and end during the Summer II term ??will belong to the Summer II term.

Any exceptions to the above rules must be dealt with on a case by case basis.


The Office of Records and Registration keeps a variety of calendars.  They are as follows:

Past Academic:  These calendars may be found in a file called "Calendars - Past Academic." These calendars aid in student enrollment verifications and in other tasks that require specific past dates.  The Calendars include the first day of registration, the first and last days of class and the last day of final examinations for each semester, from 1978 to the present.

Academic Planning Calendars:  The planning calendars are used to plan the coming semesters and years.  Changes are sometimes made to the calendars during the year.