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quarter vs semester

I will hopefully be entering grad school in the fall and was hoping you guys could share your views on the quarter system vs the semester system - pros, cons of whatever your program is, etc.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 5th, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
The quarter system truly sucks. I'm halfway through winter quarter, and the idea of having to churn out developed papers in 10 weeks makes my stomach turn. To put this in perspective, I'm the type of student who typically begins writing/researching/thinking about my papers in the second week of class.

Feb. 5th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
is it a reason to not choose a school, would you say?
Feb. 5th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
I'm on the semester system, so I don't have the same experiences as circumfession, but I'd say it's something to keep in mind. Sure, you may only have three years of coursework, but also keep in mind how that will impact your teaching load--not only will there be papers to write, but also papers to grade.

I wouldn't say that it's an absolute deal breaker, but I would carefully consider it in your decision making process.
Feb. 5th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
I agree with circumfession completely. My MA program was on quarters, and 10 weeks is just not enough time to do graduate-level work. However, I would not say that this is a reason to not choose a school. First of all, you won't be in coursework the entire time you're in a PhD program, so at some point, the length of the term won't matter at all. You really want to find a program where you have good options for a potential advisor - someone who shares your interests and who will be on your side. You can survive quarters, but you will just have to be aware that the work you produce during a 10 week quarter is more of a first draft and that you will have to do more work on your own to polish papers that you might want to present or publish.
Feb. 5th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
I couldn't possibly answer that question :) It really depends on everything else, and how you handle time management.
Feb. 5th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
I am still in undergrad, but I have experienced both quarter and semester systems. What Circumfession says is completely right. The quarter system does make it difficult to research and write significant work. However, having three sets of classes per year instead of two gives you more opportunities for getting breadth in your studies.

Also, I know people in the PhD program at my current school, and professors are fairly understanding about students turning in papers after (sometimes long after) the quarter is over so they have more time to work on them.
Feb. 7th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I LOVED the quarter system in undergrad (the variety, hit the ground running, etc.) but I'm now on the semester system. In the quarter system, I was taking 3 classes a semester (9 a year); now on the semester system I'm also taking 3 classes a semester (6 a year). Strangely, this was a pretty smooth transition. I'm not sure how doing a 20-25 page seminar paper would work on the quarter system, though. In undergrad I loved it, but we didn't go much longer than 12-15 pagers for a final paper in our advanced courses. I think 10 weeks might make me feel a whole lot of pressure to pick a paper topic right away, before getting to a lot of discussion and texts that could have been a better choice. I'm sure the profs at a quarter system would be understanding - they know how much they have to do in 10 weeks, too.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )