How does the quarter system at the University of Chicago work?


Hey sorry, I know this is probably pretty obvious for most, but I would like to know how the quarter system at the University of Chicago works? I come from a school with semesters.

In particular, I wanted to know how do exams work? Are there cumulative exams at the end of the academic year or do you get final exams at the end of every quarter?


Hey, I’m glad you asked! I was in the same place you were, when I was an incoming first-year.

Before I get into exams, let me first break down the calendar for you. So the academic year is broken up into four quarters (as the name quarter would imply haha!): Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer. Really it’s more of a trimester, as most students are not present on campus during the Summer quarter. Furthermore, any courses that are designed as sequences (i.e. they extend over multiple quarters), will at most extend to span three quarters, so that they can fit into the Autumn, Winter, Spring cycle.

Alright, so now let’s talk about exams. For any course that does have a final exam, the final exam will take place at the end of the quarter. This means that you have final exams at the end of each quarter and your grade for a course will reflect your performance exclusively during that quarter. Even with course sequences (i.e. courses that extend over multiple quarters), you will receive a grade for each quarter that is completely independent from the grades received in previous quarters.

Hope this helps! And if you have any follow up questions, please feel free to respond to this post.