Student FAQs

What's changing in Fall 2018, and what's staying the same?

Quarters Semesters
Academic Year Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter  Fall Semester and Spring Semester
Term Length 10-Week Quarters 15-Week Semesters
Optional Terms Summer Quarter Summer Session
Recommended Unit Load 15 Units Per Quarter 15 Units Per Semester
Academic Year Calendar Starts in September and ends in June Starts in August and ends in May
Tuition Annual tuition is divided into three quarters* Annual tuition is divided into two semesters*
Financial Aid Annual award is divided into three quarters Annual award is divided into two semesters
*Optional term not included. 

 

  1. When is Cal Poly Pomona switching to semesters?
  2. What is the difference between the quarter system and the semester system?
  3. What are the benefits of switching to the semester system?
  4. How many units should I take to stay on track to graduate?
  5. Am I going to lose the units I've already earned before semester conversion?
  6. Will the requirements for my major change?
  7. Will semester conversion push back my expected graduation date?
  8. What is a course sequence?
  9. What information and resources are available to students before and after the transition?
  10. What are bridge and cap courses?
  11. How will semester conversion impact my tuition payments?
  12. How will semester conversion impact my financial aid package?
  13. How will semester conversion affect summer 2018 course offerings?
  14. If I'm applying to Cal Poly Pomona as a transfer student, how will semester conversion affect me?
  15. How will students trying to transfer from Cal Poly Pomona be impacted?
  16. How will the semester calendar affect study abroad opportunities?
  17. How will the calendar change my ability to get a summer job, internship, or research opportunity?
  18. Can I take a course at a community college during winter break once conversion happens? 
  19. How will my official transcript account for semester conversion? 
  20. Will I still be eligible for the CPP Pledge or California Promise graduation pledge programs if I am transitioning to semesters?
  21. Will I be able to get a summer job or internship with the short summer between spring and fall 2018? 
  22. How will my schedule be affected by semester conversion? 
  23. Will we still have winter and spring breaks? Will we be given homework over spring break?
  24. Why is MyPlanner important for semester conversion?

1. When is Cal Poly Pomona switching to semesters?

Cal Poly Pomona is switching to semesters in fall 2018. The first day of fall 2018 will be August 23, 2018.

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2. What is the difference between the quarter system and the semester system?

The quarter-based academic year has three 10-week quarters—fall, winter, and spring—and an optional summer quarter. The semester based academic year has 15-week semesters in fall and spring, and an optional summer session. 

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3. What are the benefits of switching to the semester system?

Semesters allow you to get to know your professors and classmates better, and you’ll have more time to learn and study class material. 

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4. How many units should I take to stay on track to graduate?

You should take at least 15 quarter or semester units every term to stay on track to graduate. Work with your academic advisor to create your academic plan, and use Student Success Central to access advising and academic resources. 

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5. Am I going to lose the units I've already earned before semester conversion?

No. Through the Student Pledge, the university has made a commitment to Cal Poly Pomona students that you should not lose any credits you’ve earned before semester conversion.

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6. Will the requirements for my major change?

Your academic department may make substitutions for specific classes as a result of semester conversion. However, these classes should meet the same program outcomes and should not extend your time to degree.

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7. Will semester conversion push back my expected graduation date? 

Through the Student Pledge, the university has made a commitment to Cal Poly Pomona students that your time to graduation should be the same as if Cal Poly Pomona remained on the quarter system. If you have questions about your expected graduation date, you should talk to your academic advisor about your degree progress.

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8. What is a course sequence?

A course sequence is a series of related classes that you must take sequentially. If you complete only one or two quarters of a class sequence, you may have the option to take a bridge or cap course that would allow you to complete the sequence. The availability of these offerings will vary by department.

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9. What information and resources are available to me before and after the transition?

Your primary resource is your academic advisor, who can help you take the right courses to graduate on time or transition to semesters. Your MyPlanner in your BroncoDirect Student Center will help you map out your future courses, and the other tools in this website's Handbook and Advising Resources can help you draft your transition plan.

There are also several places you can find information related to semester conversion. In addition to checking this website, you can follow the Bronco Advising Center on social media for timely updates. You should also read your BroncoBytes student newsletter and quarterly semester conversion newsletters for updates. 

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10. What are bridge and cap courses?

If you are unable to complete a course sequence before conversion, some departments will be offering 5-week bridge and 10-week cap courses to help you finish. Stay tuned for more information about these courses, which will include the departments offering these options and when they will be offered.

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11. How will semester conversion impact my tuition payments?

Overall annual tuition costs will not be affected. On the semester calendar, you will pay for annual tuition in two installments, not three.

For this reason, each installment amount will be higher than you are used to paying for a quarter term. Student Accounting & Cashiering Services will offer an installment payment plan. For more information about fee payment deadlines, visit the Student Success Central Academic Calendar.  

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12. How will semester conversion impact my financial aid package?

Your annual financial aid award will not be impacted by semester conversion. Financial Aid & Scholarships will continue to award you based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, disbursement will happen twice a year instead of three times. For more information about disbursement dates, visit the Student Success Central Academic Calendar.  


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13. How will semester conversion affect summer 2018 course offerings?

Summer 2018 will consist of just one five-week session instead of the usual ten-week session and two five-week sessions. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Summer Session website

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14. If I'm applying to Cal Poly Pomona as a transfer student, how will semester conversion affect me?

Transferring to Cal Poly Pomona will be easier for most students, as the majority of our transfer students come from California Community Colleges on the semester system. Currently, transfer students that start winter quarter have already used a semester, or half, of their financial aid but will still need to pay for two quarters, or two-thirds of tuition, potentially leaving students short on funds. This will no longer occur after the transition. For more information, contact the Office of Outreach, Recruitment & Educational Partnerships

15. How will students trying to transfer from Cal Poly Pomona be impacted?

Most other colleges are also on the semester system, so the transfer of units and financial aid will become easier, similar to students transferring into Cal Poly Pomona. 

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16. How will the semester calendar affect study abroad opportunities?

The semester calendar will make it easier for you to pursue study abroad opportunities. Most international universities that the California State University partners with follow some version of a semester system. For more information about study abroad opportunities, visit the International Center website

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17. How will the calendar change my ability to get a summer job, internship, or research opportunity?

The semester calendar will make it easier for you to pursue a summer job, internship or research opportunity. Employers often match their start dates with the end of spring semester. You will also have more time to pursue and work on undergraduate or graduate research projects.

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18. Can I take a course at a community college during winter break once the conversion happens? 

If you’re interested in taking community college classes and transferring them into Cal Poly Pomona, you should talk to your academic advisor about what courses are advantageous for your degree progress. You can also reach out to the Bronco Advising Center to make sure those classes are transferrable back to Cal Poly Pomona. Check your community college’s website for term dates, which may not sync up with Cal Poly Pomona’s academic calendar.

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19. How will my official transcript account for semester conversion?

Your official transcript will differentiate between the quarter classes you’ve taken and the semester courses you will take. More information about changes to transcripts and how they will look will be available later this academic year through the Student Handbook and other student communications.

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20. Will I still be eligible for the CPP Pledge or California Promise graduation pledge programs if I am transitioning to semesters?

Yes. Make sure that you are still following the eligibility requirements outlined on the Graduation Pledge website.

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21. Will I be able to get a summer job or internship with the short summer between spring and fall 2018?

Yes. If you’re looking for a position, reach out to the Career Center to find a job or internship that’s appropriate to your major and/or career goals. Your faculty advisor or academic department may also have information about internship opportunities.

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22. How will my class schedule be affected by semester conversion?

Courses will be available in a variety of different timeslots and days, including Saturdays and Sundays. For example, a three-unit lecture may meet twice per week for one hour and 15 minutes, or three times per week for 50 minutes. Your department will make decisions about the day and time combinations their courses will be offered. The Student Handbook has an example of a potential schedule.

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23. Will we still have winter and spring breaks? Will we be given homework over spring break?

We will still have winter and spring breaks. Check the Student Handbook for a brief overview of the 2018-19 academic calendar, and Student Success Central for more specific dates as they become available. Your course instructor will determine whether or not you have homework over spring break.

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24. Why is MyPlanner important for semester conversion?

Making a longterm plan of your remaining degree requirements helps you visualize your pathway to graduation, and helps you keep track of your work in using the Conversion Guide. Your MyPlanner also helps your academic department understand what classes you want to take and when. For more information about how to use MyPlanner, visit the MyPlanner website.

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