Definition: While most universities run on the semester or quarter system, some private, liberal arts colleges have something they call Jan Term or May Term. The school year consists of two shorter-than-normal semesters, and an intensive month-long term in January or May, when students are encourage to dabble in a class outside their major or take a travel-based course. They might, for example, travel to Goa to study Indian culture, search for a Civil War shipwreck in San Francisco Bay or plunge into an intensive study of aquatic biology.
- Jan Term: Fall semester typically starts in August, as it would on a regular semester schedule. Jan Term begins immediately after New Year’s, and second semester begins in early February and runs through mid- to late May.
- May Term: Fall semester is exactly the same, but second semester runs from early January to late April, with a spring break in the middle. And May Term runs, of course, through May. Some students who take travel-based classes opt to remain abroad for some or the entire summer.
Also Known As: Jan Term, May Term, January Term