II. Academic Calendar

A. Standard Calendar

Georgia Tech's standard Academic Calendar consists of a Fall Semester, a Spring Semester, and an accelerated Summer Session. Each Fall Semester and each Spring Semester normally includes approximately fifteen weeks of instruction plus one week of final examinations. A normal Summer Session includes approximately eleven weeks of instruction plus one week of final examinations. Each Academic Year consists of one sequence of a Fall Semester followed by a Spring Semester. The word "term" may refer to a Fall Semester, a Spring Semester, or a Summer Session. The Office of the Registrar publishes the official Academic Calendar for each term. Due to variations in the yearly calendar and the need to balance the dates of campus events, particularly in the Fall Semester, the Registrar uses discretion, as appropriate, to set dates on the Academic Calendar, such as Fall Recess, the Last Day to Withdraw from Individual Courses without a Penalty, and the Progress Report Grade Due Date. See Catalog Regulation V. Grades and Scholastic Average for more information.

B. Other Academic Terms

In addition to the standard Academic Calendar, some programs may be offered on other schedules. All such offerings are subject to the approval of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Institute Graduate Committee, and/or the Registrar, as appropriate. With approval, such programs may operate under different academic rules, such as credit hour limits or withdrawal dates, than those specified for standard academic terms.

C. Curriculum Year

  1. Requirements for degrees and minors shall be specified for each Curriculum Year, which is comprised of a Summer Session plus the immediately following Fall Semester and Spring Semester. This designation shall be independent of any schedule for publication of such requirements in printed or electronic form.
  2. All changes in degree and minor requirements shall become effective at the beginning of the next Curriculum Year following final approval by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Institute Graduate Committee, Academic Senate, and/or University System, as appropriate.
  3. The Office of the Registrar shall maintain an archival record of all degree and minor requirements associated with each curriculum year.

D. Unit of Credit Defined

The current Academic Calendar is semester-based, consisting of with 15 weeks of instruction in which 50 minutes of class attendance are considered one contact hour and one unit of credit. The working unit of credit definition is as follows:

One unit of credit represents how much time a typical student is expected to devote to learning per week of study. Each course is evaluated by a system of credits related to time spent in class, lab, research, or field study. One credit is expected to require at least three hours of scholarly activity per week.

For lecture-based course work, one 50-minute hour of class attendance is scheduled for each credit awarded, but any combination of class attendance, lab, research, or field study experience may be arranged. Additional time is expected out-of-class for preparation and homework.

  • The amount of time that students should expect to spend out-of-class on homework and other assignments should be commensurate with the credit hours granted for the course. For example, a 3 credit lecture-based class requires nine (9) hours of scholarly activity per week which, considering three (3) hours of lecture per week, indicates a requirement for an additional six (6) hours of scholarly activity in the form of homework assignments, project assignments, guided study and self-guided study of the course materials.

Studio and laboratory classes earn one credit for each three hours of attendance. Exceptions to this policy for undergraduate courses must be approved by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Exceptions for graduate courses must be approved by the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee.

During our current 15-week fall or spring terms, most 3-hour classes have the following amounts of instruction time.

  • Classes meet three times per week for 50-minute periods, for a total of 2250 minutes (3x50x15); or
  • Classes meet two times per week for 80-minute periods, for a total of 2400 minutes (2x80x15).

The following class scheduling protocols are intended to ensure sufficient meeting times to account for the credit assigned the course. At present, the average amount of class attendance is 775 minutes for each credit in a 15-week semester.

This policy is consistent with specifications in the University System of Georgia Academic and Student Affairs Handbook, Section 2.1 Semester System, Uniform Academic Calendar, Cancellation of Classes and Religious Holidays.  This policy is also consistent with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools policy statement on credit hours.