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Prospective Students

How will semester conversion impact time-to-degree?

The semester-based calendar is used in most high schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Problem with these sentences of the semester calendar is usually slower, students should be able to adjust to college life more easily. Students will also have more time to recover from an illness or academic interruption or adversity. There is some evidence to suggest temporary increases in graduation rate and first-year persistence along with decreased time to degree. 

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Will all of my existing quarter units count toward my degree after conversion?

The university will make every effort to ensure that the units students have already earned will count toward their degrees. In Cal Poly Pomona’s “Pledge to Students,” the university vowed that students should graduate on time and not lose earned credits as long as they meet certain requirements, including meeting with advisors, developing an academic plan, and following the approved plan.

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When will advisors be ready to help me plan my path to degree given all of the changes? 

Each department will be ready to advise transition students by Fall 2017 To ensure that students receive thorough and adequate guidance in mapping a path toward graduation, students need to use MyPlanner ( to plot the courses they need to graduate before meeting with their advisor. Departments are finalizing advising plans and three-year course offering plans. 

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What will be the impact on students trying to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona?

Transferring to Cal Poly Pomona will be improved for the majority of transfer students. Approximately 90 percent of transfer students come from California community colleges, which are usually on semester systems. Currently, transfer of financial aid is complicated if students transfer in the middle of the year because they have used up one-half of their eligibility in one semester at their community college and may be short on funds if they are taking two more quarters of work at Cal Poly Pomona. The content of courses will also be less difficult to align when the academic systems are the same. 

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What will be the impact on students trying to transfer from Cal Poly Pomona?

In most situations, transferring from Cal Poly Pomona will become easier, as most other colleges and universities follow a semester calendar. 

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When will students need to pay fees, and what will be the payment plan for a semester calendar?

Tuition fees are set by the CSU Board of Trustees and are charged at the same rate per academic year on all CSU campuses. Each CSU campus sets its own timelines for tuition fees. Any change in the timeline for fee payment resulting from semester conversion will be aligned with changes made in registration periods. Cal Poly Pomona has traditionally set the fee payment deadline at two weeks prior to the start of the next term.

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How will financial aid be impacted for students?
Overall, financial aid awards are given for an academic year, regardless of whether the school’s calendar is based on the quarter or semester system. A semester schedule will decrease the number of financial aid check disbursements.

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How will student non-tuition costs be impacted by being on a semester? (e.g., housing, parking, etc.)

There is no reason for calendar conversion to change the monthly rate for parking.

Housing fees vary and depend on the type of housing. Since the school year will be approximately the same length on the semester system, it is unlikely that annual housing fees will be greatly impacted by semester conversion. However, the cost of utilities to operate the residential suites could potentially be higher on a semester calendar. With a longer span between terms in a semester system, the administration may have to look into closing down the residential buildings to allow for a longer time period to complete these tasks.

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How will semesters affect student services on campus?

Campus offices that provide student services will experience fewer fluctuations in their scheduling as the semester calendar requires one less period to process documents or perform business transactions. This could lead to more efficient business processing across the campus, potentially allowing offices to have time for better planning, service improvement or enhancement, and staff development.

The student services located in the Bronco Student Center and the ASI’s business unit that manages its budget and operates all the student services will continue to serve the students year-round.

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How will semesters affect student summer opportunities?

The Office of CSU International Programs (IP) coordinates the planning for students who wish to study abroad and is accustomed to working with both semester and quarter calendars. Because most universities worldwide follow some version of a semester system, study abroad opportunities will be more easily accessible to students following semester conversion.

It is possible that students will have more opportunities for summer employment, internships, research opportunities and summer studies. Ninety percent of colleges and universities follow the semester calendar, so many employers follow this schedule and begin seeking candidates for summer employment in early spring. Students who attend schools on a quarter system end their spring term too late to take full advantage of such summer opportunities, which will not be a problem on a semester system. 

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What will a student’s schedule look like under the semester model?

Currently, students need to complete 180 units to graduate. That works out to 45 units per year for four years, or 15 units per quarter (approximately four courses). Under the semester model, students will need to complete about 120 units, or about 30 units per year for four years. In general at other semester campuses, courses are 3-unit courses, so a full-time student will take five courses per semester.

The length of a semester is 15 weeks, with another week for exams, as compared to 10 weeks plus an exam week in the quarter model. The individual class sessions will be shorter, but the time over the entire term will be approximately the same.

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Will a student’s catalog year change? Will the requirements for degree change?

A student’s catalog year determines the requirements that a student must satisfy to earn their degree. This will not change under conversion. The student's department may need to make substitutions to specific classes as a result of conversion. However, the substituted classes should meet the same program outcomes and should not extend a student’s time to degree.

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