Semester Conversion - E-Newsletter for Students (Spring 2015)

Cal Poly Pomona is well underway in its conversion to a semester calendar, with a go-live date of fall 2018. Converting to semesters is meant to serve you, our students. It’s an opportunity to fundamentally reshape the curriculum to ensure that it meets your needs in the 21st century, and to create a calendar that improves and deepens student learning.

With that opportunity comes great responsibility. The university is undertaking this project thoughtfully, with great care for the concerns of students, faculty and staff. Over the next few years, faculty and staff will be hard at work on semester conversion, redesigning academic programs to serve you effectively.

This newsletter is one of the vehicles that will be used to communicate important updates and news.

Semester Conversion - How it Affects Students

Throughout the conversion process, Cal Poly Pomona will focus its efforts on student success. Students should not lose credits toward their degree nor extend their expected time to graduation because of the conversion process. Before the transition to semesters in fall 2018, the university will provide advising and support for students to complete individual academic plans. The university will also ensure that financial aid and annual tuition fees on the semester calendar stay similar to the quarter calendar.

  • A professor teaches in front of a classroom full of studentsSemesters allow students more time to absorb and understand difficult material, as well as a better chance to recover from illness or adversity without having to drop courses and fall behind in their degree completion.
  • Semesters make possible a richer and more reflective student-learning experience.
  • Semesters allow faculty to shift pedagogy mid-semester if their teaching is not working, if students are not engaged, or if student feedback indicates such a need.
  • Longer contact makes it easier for faculty to identify students who need help.
  • There is a greater likelihood for informal mentoring or advising relationships to arise between students and faculty. Such relationships are likely to contribute to better student retention and engagement.
  • A semester calendar will ease the transition for students who transfer from semester-based community and junior colleges, as well as maximize the likelihood that all transferred units satisfy Cal Poly Pomona degree requirements.
Semester Conversion - How it Affects Students

The university pledges that:

  • An adviser helping out a studentThere should be no loss of credits applied to students’ degree requirements earned before the semester conversion.
  • The time to graduation should be the same as would have been the case had CPP remained on the quarter system.
  • It will provide exceptional advising support and assistance to prepare an Individual Academic Plan (IAP) for undergraduate students (a) who wish to graduate prior to the conversion to semesters and (b) whose programs span the quarter-to-semester transition.
  • It will provide exceptional advising support and assistance to prepare a master’s contract for graduate students who wish to graduate prior to the conversion to semesters, and a Conversion Contract (CC) for graduate students whose programs span the quarter-to-semester transition.
  • Student tuition and fees under the semester system should not be greater than they would be under the quarter system. (CSU tuition fees, as well as campus-based fees, may be adjusted as deemed necessary and authorized by the Board of Trustees and/or the university president.).
  • Conversion should not adversely affect students’ financial aid.
  • Tuition and fees payment schedules as well as financial aid and scholarship disbursements will be aligned with the semester calendar in a manner consistent with the schedules that exist under the quarter calendar.

To fulfill their part in this pledge:

  • Undergraduate students are expected to declare a major by the completion of 45 quarter units (30 semester units) and maintain that major until graduation.
  • Graduate students are expected to submit a contract no later than the end of the second quarter of attendance.
  • All students are expected to 
    • Work with a designated advisor to complete an IAP/CC.
    • Follow the IAP/CC on the timeline indicated in the plan/contract.
    • Meet minimum grade requirements in each course on the IAP/CC.
    • Meet regularly with an advisor and follow advising instructions.
    • Satisfy all other graduation requirements as specified in the catalog.

The university shall not be held responsible for the time to degree or cost of the degree for transition students who do not complete an IAP/CC or who make personal choices that deviate from the agreed-upon IAP/CC.

Read more about the pledge...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is happening now and what's next?

A Semester Conversion Steering Committee has been established with broad representation from all members of the campus community, including students. Faculty members started the curriculum development in summer 2014, and have submitted pre-proposals for all programs. Final proposals will be submitted by academic departments in spring 2015 through fall 2015, with reviews at the college and Academic Senate levels.

The advising timeline is being finalized and will be provided to the students later. The semester conversion team envisions two tracks for student advising. The first is directed to students graduating before fall 2018. The second track of advising will be directed to students who will be graduating in the semester calendar.

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

For example, in the quarter calendar, an undergraduate student who needs 180 units to graduate would take 45 units per year for four years, or 15 units per quarter (approximately four courses). Under the semester model, students will need to complete 120 units to graduate. That works out to 30 units per year for four years, or 15 units per semester. Most semester 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 (for example, 45 minutes three days a week rather than 65 minutes), but the time over the entire term will be approximately the same.

3. What should I be doing if I am a current student?

If you anticipate graduating before fall 2018, stay on track! Keep making progress toward completing your degree so you can finish before the conversion occurs. In the next year, tools will be developed to help you ensure that you are on track to graduate.

If you anticipate graduating after fall 2018, continue with your study plan. A coordinated strategy of advisors and software tools will help you transition to semesters once the semester curriculum has been more fully developed.

You may want to take advantage of summer session classes to fit in a few extra credits before fall 2018.

Stay informed and pay attention when you receive messages about semester conversion and advising. Take the actions recommended and make a plan.

4. Will all of the student’s existing quarter units count toward their degree following the conversion?

Every effort will be made to ensure that the units students already have earned will count toward their degrees. We have made a “Pledge to Students” assuring that you will graduate on time and will not lose earned credits provided you meet certain requirements: meet with advisors, develop an academic plan, and follow the plan.

5. How will financial aid be impacted?

A semester schedule will decrease the number of financial aid check disbursements. However, the student’s financial aid awards are given for an academic year regardless of whether the school’s calendar is quarter or semester based.

View more frequently asked questions...

Get Informed

Semester Conversion Website


Frequently Asked Questions


Dr. Francelina Neto
Director of Semester Conversion
(909) 869-5549

Valerie Otto
Semester Conversion
Administrative Coordinator
(909) 869-5548

Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona - Semester Conversion Cal Poly Pomona