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Carolyn Levine on Thursday, 11 February 2010. Posted in Academic Calendar

Today RIT announced that in the fall of 2013 it will be switching from the current quarter system to a semester system. While many students are big fans of the quarter system and upset about the change, I cannot be happier to see it go! Personally, I dislike the quarter system (a lot) and even though I will be long gone by the time semesters are implemented, I am very happy that RIT is making the change! 

My first year at St. Lawrence, I followed a semester calendar and making the switch to the quarter system here at RIT was quite a shock to the system. People warned me about the fast pace and crazy schedule but I didn't know what they meant until I got here. The quarter system is indeed a very fast paced learning environment, with only 10 weeks of classes and an 11th week of exams. I think it feels more like 10 weeks of stress and an 11th week of cramming, to be honest. 

I think semesters give students more time to absorb the information we learn in class and provide the opportunity to study and complete projects with ample time. Something that simply isn't available in a 10 week period. On the current schedule, I always feel rushed and like I don't have the time to complete my projects to the best of my ability, which is frustrating. Until you get to RIT, you don't realize what a difference 5 weeks makes! 

As someone who has experienced both quarters and semesters, I have to say that this is a great move for RIT and one that future students won't be able to appreciate fully (without experiencing the chaos that is the quarter system)! 

You can read what President Destler has to say about the change here

Comments (7)

  • Josh Kramer

    Josh Kramer

    11 February 2010 at 06:28 |
    All that stress you talk about. It is what makes employers love RIT graduates. They know we have such a strong work ethic and can handle doing things on a tough deadline. They know we can take the stress. Are we going to get a month off when we are in the work force? I think not...

    I would just like to make it clear to all prospective students that a "pro-semester" view is not shared among most RIT students. To see data on percentages of RIT students who opposed this change, please go to

    I am very strongly opposed to this change. I'm not going to get into a spitting fight here, but I would just like to point out some inconsistency with President Destler's reasoning for switching. He emphasized in his letter that this switch will cause "no loss of rigor" to the curriculum here, but also stated that reasons for the switch include "somewhat slower academic pace", "enhanced opportunities for students to recover from illnesses and other interruptions in their studies" (try replacing "other interruptions" with "slaking". Employers will do it too), and a "better chance to see old friends [during a winter break that coincides with other schools']" (I'm all for that, but should this be a reason?).

    My favorite one is the following - "A semester calendar would afford the opportunity for students enrolling from warmer states and nations and who do not participate in the January mini-mester [school mini-term during the January break] to escape the Rochester winter for the month." Hopefully, those who chose to come to RIT are smart enough to know what they are getting themselves into, and can grin and bear the cold. It is NOT a reason to pay millions of dollars to get rid of one of the best things RIT graduates have to praise RIT for.

    I don't want to step on your toes or make your thoughts sound "wrong". I just believe that prospective students should get a true view of the RIT student population on this issue.
  • Josh Kramer

    Josh Kramer

    11 February 2010 at 06:31 |
    Sorry, that link doesn't work. The "period" at the end got included. The correct URL is here -
  • Grandpa Joe

    Grandpa Joe

    12 February 2010 at 02:56 |
    I agree with the wolf from twighlight you dont see columbia and harvard rocking semesters.
  • Carolyn


    12 February 2010 at 06:59 |
    It's natural for people to fear the unknown but I hope that those students opposed to the change can have an open mind and understand that the administration is making this adjustment with our best interest in mind!
  • Mark


    12 February 2010 at 19:31 |
    Aren't there some classes with prerequisites that will be affected? Any news on whether it will affect BS/MS program graduation time?
  • Craig Martek

    Craig Martek

    14 February 2010 at 19:57 |
    It's an awful decision, and one that will severely water down the education received by future students at RIT. Unfortunately I'll now have to append "(Quarter system)" next to my RIT education entry in my resume.
  • Michelle Bishop-Utano

    Michelle Bishop-Utano

    15 February 2010 at 10:42 |
    Mark – As it currently stands the graduation time for BS/MS majors will remain the same.

    I also wanted to address some of the other comments on Carolyn’s blog that seem to be a bit misinformed. Both Columbia and Harvard both currently operate on the semester calendar. In fact, this calendar change allows RIT to align with almost all of the other Colleges and Universities (91%) in the country that operate on a semester calendar. It will in no way weaken the education offered at RIT. The academic rigor of our coursework as well as our commitment to experiential learning and co-op will remain the same.

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