With the start of the 2018–2019 academic year, JWU began offering all graduate degree programs, except for the master’s level education programs, on a semester calendar.
The conversion to semesters will be completed in fall of 2020 for all undergraduate, continuing education and master’s level education programs offered at the university. This transition schedule also applies to programs offered through the College of Online Education.
We wanted to make sure that our students had all the information they need to make a smooth transition.
Why is Johnson & Wales University converting to a semester system?
JWU’s transition into a semester system provides enhanced quality of JWU’s educational experience. For traditional on-campus undergraduate students, 16-week semester benefits include more time to interact with faculty as students learn the content and skills of each course, longer internships that provide additional experience in students’ chosen profession field, and more time to pursue summer work and study abroad opportunities. For online graduate students, the semester system provides the opportunity for two, 8-week sessions within each 16-week semester. The 8-week sessions allow online students to take just one course at a time in a semester (two courses, 6 credits) and still qualify for financial aid on a half-time basis. Concentrating on just one subject at a time is very beneficial for many online students, particularly those working full-time. Students may also take one, 16-week course and two, 8-week courses in a semester, or any combination of 8- and 16-week courses up to a maximum of 12 credits (four courses).
When is the transition to semesters taking place?
Online graduate degree programs are following semester calendar as of fall 2018.
Online undergraduate programs will follow a semester calendar starting in fall 2020.
What is the difference between the term system and the semester system for online students?
The term system for online students divides the year into four, 11-week sessions in the fall, winter, spring and summer. The semester system for online students divides the year into three, 16-week semesters in the fall, spring and summer, each comprised of two 8-week sessions (Fall I, Fall II, Spring I, Spring II, Summer I, Summer II).
Will the transition to semesters impact me during my time at JWU?
This change will mainly impact: Undergraduate students who complete their degree requirements after August 2020; and students considering accelerated JWU master’s degree programs. All students are encouraged to contact their online academic advisor to review a plan that will keep them on track toward graduation.
Will I lose credits in the transition between systems?
No. Your credits will be converted to the equivalent number of semester credits. (4.5 quarter credits = 3.0 semester credits)
How will my transcript look if I start under a term calendar and graduate under a semester calendar?
Full conversion of credits for all coursework completed at the master’s level occurred after summer 2018 classes ended. Full conversion of credits for all coursework completed at the undergraduate level and for the master’s level education programs will occur after summer 2020 classes have ended. All courses on an academic transcript will reflect semester credits regardless of when those courses were completed. The conversion of credits will be noted in the legend of the official transcript.
Does the transition to semesters mean that it will take longer to complete my degree?
No. It should not take longer to complete your program if you work with your advisors to develop a transition plan. Each program’s curriculum and individual courses will be adapted for a semester calendar. For the majority of master’s level programs, students must successfully complete three 3.0 credit courses, or 9 semesters credits, for 4 semesters. For the majority of undergraduate programs, students must successfully complete five 3.0 credit courses, or 15 semester credits, for 8 semesters.
Will the transition to semesters impact my graduation date?
It may. Under the semester calendar, the fall semester will end in mid-December (compared to the end of November under a term calendar), and the spring semester will end in late April (compared to mid-May under a term calendar). It should not take longer to complete your program if you work with your online academic advisor to develop a transition plan. Each program’s curriculum and individual courses will be adapted for a semester calendar. For the majority of online master’s level programs, in order to graduate in two years or less, students must successfully complete two 3.0 credit courses, or 6 semester credits, for six consecutive semesters for 12-course graduate programs (MBA programs) and five semesters for 10-course programs (most MS programs).
Will it cost more to pursue my education on the semester calendar?
No. The annual cost will be the same under semesters as it would be under a term calendar. Online students will see that billing is different—three times per year instead of four times per year.
Will my financial aid eligibility change under the semester system?
No. Your financial aid eligibility will not change as a result of JWU transitioning to a semester system, but financial aid for online students will be disbursed twice each semester instead of three times per academic year. Please note that your enrollment status, being full-time or less, is a major factor in determining your eligibility for financial aid.
How many credits qualify for full-time status under the semester system for financial aid?
For graduate students, full-time enrollment is three 3.0 credit courses per semester, or 9 semester credits. Students enrolled at least half-time (6.0 semester credits) may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need). For undergraduate students, full-time enrollment is four 3.0 credit courses per semester, or 12 semester credits. Students enrolled at least half-time (6.0 semester credits) may qualify for financial aid at a reduced rate depending on eligibility (cost and need).
What will the class schedule look like?
Undergraduate students: The university continues to explore all possibilities in setting the class schedule for undergraduate programs. Undergraduate courses will be delivered in fully online format over 8 or 16 weeks, with 8-week courses being the more prevalent option online. Graduate students: Master’s level courses will be delivered over 8 or 16 weeks, in fully online format, with 8-week courses being the more prevalent option.
How many hours per week can students expect to spend on each online course?
In an 8-week course, students can estimate approximately 17 hours per week, and in a 16-week course, 8.5 hours per week per course.
If I’m considering transferring to JWU as a full-time, undergraduate student before fall 2020, will all of my credits be accepted by the university?
The standards to determine eligibility for transfer credit will be the same as current protocol at JWU: 1) coursework taken at an approved institution; 2) the course must be similar in level and content; and 3) student must have a grade of C or higher for an undergraduate course; B or higher for a master’s level course. Learn more about our transfer credit policy in the JWU Catalog. Changing to a semester calendar will make transferring to JWU more seamless for students, as the majority of transfer students come from the semester system.
What does the semester calendar look like for 2020–2021?
Will my transcript be converted to semester credits if I am a JWU alumnus?
No. Only the transcripts of students who are currently enrolled will be converted.
Questions? If you have questions or comments, please email Online Student Services.