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Questions and Answers

Semester conversion will align our academic calendar with the other CSU campuses, our CCCs, and more than 90% of colleges and universities nationwide. Thus, one of the main reasons we are switching to semesters is to make it easier to transfer and apply course credits towards degree completion. Did you know that of the more than 70% of students who transfer to Cal State East Bay, the majority does so from the California Community Colleges (CCCs)? Of the 112 CCCs, 109 use a semester calendar. The trend right now is for all of the CSU campuses to move from quarter to semester.

Semesters also create more opportunities to participate in internships, field experiences, and community engagement projects on and off the campus, and semesters give students more time to absorb and learn course material. Please also see President Morishita’s recent comments about semester conversion, which are available on the Semester Conversion website.

The beginning (August) and end (May) of the semester calendar will align better with the K-12 school-year calendar, supporting those of you who are also caregivers or parents of younger children. Students will be able to enter the summer job market at the same time as those attending other universities. Another convenience will be that you will only need to register for classes, pay fees, and complete other administrative tasks twice a year rather than three times a year. 

Cal State East Bay will begin its semester calendar in fall 2018. 

The quarter system divides the academic year into three terms per year of 10-11 weeks each, typically beginning in September and ending in June, plus an optional summer term. The semester system divides the year into two terms of 15 instructional weeks, typically beginning in August and ending in May, with an optional shorter summer term. Both the quarter and semester models require 147 instructional days during the academic year. 

There will be official Fall and Spring semester admissions cycles in the semester system. As is done now, though, the University will need to determine every year whether or not we are open for the Spring cycle and which applications are being accepted. In most cases the University will only be open to certain groups. Also, some majors may only be open for the Fall cycle. 

An undergraduate student must enroll in 12 or more semester units to be considered full-time. A post-baccalaureate student seeking an additional undergraduate degree or an unclassified post-baccalaureate student must enroll in 12 or more semester units to be considered full-time.

Full-time classified post-baccalaureate students admitted to a teaching credential program must enroll in at least 8 semester units to be considered full-time. Full-time graduate students who are admitted to a master or doctoral degree program must carry at least 8 semester units. 


For students with an F-1 visa, 8 units is the minimum for full-time graduate students and 12 units is the minimum for undergraduate students. 

Currently, undergraduate students need to complete 180-quarter units to graduate. That works out to 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-semester 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 or 4-unit courses, so a student will typically take five courses per semester to graduate in four years.

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. Class sessions will be shorter but the time over the entire term will be 45 hours for a 3-unit semester class whereas it is 40 hours for a 4-unit quarter class. 

Class sizes are dependent on a wide range of factors including pedagogy, department FTES targets, availability of instructors, and numbers of students needing to take the course. The same factors will be at play with the semester system and will inform caps and number of course sections. 

Conversion to semesters will not affect the commencement ceremony itself. The benefit to a semester calendar is that the ceremonies will be held earlier in the year. This will give you, the future graduate, a chance to enter the job market at the same time as others who are also on the semester system. 

The University is still discussing the issue of summer session before the conversion. The last summer on quarters will be a shorter session. Details will be made available as soon as they are available. 

In fall 2014, the ASI Board appointed two of its members—President Thamer Alhatal and Vice President for Internal Affairs Hendrix Erhahon—to serve on the Semester Conversion Steering Committee (SCSC). Each year members of the ASI Board serve on the SCSC and other Semester Conversion Subcommittees. The SCSC meets every other Friday from 12-2pm, posting its agenda, minutes, and documents on the Semester Conversion website. All meetings are open; students are more than welcome to attend.

At the March 4, 2015 ASI meeting, board members approved the formation of the Quarter to Semester Conversion Committee. This committee is an ad hoc committee of ASI External Affairs Committee, and its overall purpose is to ensure that student concerns are being heard in the quarter-to-semester conversion. 

Yes, provided you work closely with an academic advisor, beginning now, to develop an Individualized Advisement Plan toward timely graduation. Do not wait until the semester schedule is upon us. Your academic advisor will have access to a transition plan for your major. Getting an early start in the preparation for the semester conversion is your key to keeping on track and on time. Please see our Pledge to Our Students in which the University promises that students will graduate on time and will not lose earned credits provided they meet with advisors, develop an Individualized Advisement Plan, and follow the plan. 

To prepare our students for the change to semester, the Individualized Advisement Plan (IAP) in MyCSUEB will help students determine their academic paths through the conversion process and beyond to graduation. The IAP will be released in Fall 2016.

Once the IAP is approved by an academic advisor, it serves as a roadmap to facilitate graduation requirements under your major, and if applicable, minor program(s). It also provides the opportunity to inform the university of courses you plan to enroll in and when. This information will allow the university to improve course offerings based upon demand. 

You will consult with your major department about which major requirements you will follow: the current quarter system catalog requirements or the new semester system catalog requirements. The procedures for determining which requirements will be more efficient for you will vary by major and graduation date. You will consult with an AACE advisor about which General Education requirements you will follow: the current quarter system catalog requirements or the new semester system catalog requirements. It is possible to have different catalog requirements for University requirements (including GE) and major requirements.

Once you have determined which set of University and major requirements you will be following, you will know what classes you need to put into your IAP. 

Every undergraduate student has two advisors. Your AACE advisor is your General Education advisor and your other advisor is your major advisor. Schedule an appointment with an AACE advisor by visiting Visit the Student Advisement Center for your College to determine your major advisor or visit the advising kiosk in the Enrollment Information Center (first floor; Student Administration Building) for this information.

Students in the following programs have a third advisor: Athletics, EOP, EXCEL, GANAS, Project Impact, Renaissance Scholars, Sankofa, and SSOS. 

In order to plan a course of study that leads to successful completion of the graduate degree, you should meet with your Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Advisor as soon as possible. If you are nearing completion of your degree, make every effort to graduate prior to the conversion in Fall 2018. If you are not nearing completion, work with your Graduate Coordinator or Advisor to develop a plan of study to make the transition as smooth as possible. If there are quarter courses that will not have a semester equivalent, either plan to take those courses prior to Fall 2018 or work with your Coordinator/Advisor to determine an acceptable semester course substitution. 

The University will make every effort to ensure that the units you have already earned will count toward your degree. Each college and department will be working individually on plans for transitioning its courses from quarters to semesters to make the move go smoothly for students.

Please see our Pledge to Our Students in which the University promises that students will graduate on time and will not lose earned credits provided they meet with advisors, develop an Individualized Advisement Plan, and follow the plan. 

Beginning June 1, 2018, for academic year 2018-9, students can claim rights to the 2018-9 Catalog for either graduation requirements (including GE for undergraduates) or major requirements.  Here are some frequent questions asked by students and advisors.

Q:  How do I change my major catalog year to semesters?

A:  Use the Request to Update Major Catalog Year form.

Q:  If I want to elect to use the semester catalog for my major, how does that affect my GE?

A:  It does not have to affect your GE.  Students may use different catalogs for their major and graduation requirements.

Q:  Should I use the quarter or semester catalog for my major?

A:  Each situation is different and speaking with your major advisor is a particularly good idea to fully understand the impact of your decision.  Generally speaking, a student who is just reaching their junior year or has not reached junior status yet should probably use the semester catalog.  In any event, ask your advisor for an “individualized advisement plan” to help you decide.

Graduate students should consult with their program’s graduate coordinator or their faculty advisor to determine which catalog they should choose.  The choice will depend on how far along you are in your program and how significantly your program requirements will change in semesters.

Q:  What are the pros and cons of using the quarter or semester catalog for graduation requirements?

A:  AACE and College Center advisors have the complete information.  The biggest differences are that the quarter requirements include GE Areas B5 and F, whereas the semester requirements include Social Justice and Sustainability Overlays.  The semester catalog also allows for some double-counting between GE and major courses (this does not apply retroactively).  Generally speaking, a student who has satisfied areas B5 and F or is already taking upper division GE courses should stay on the quarter graduation requirements catalog.

Q:  What if I make the wrong choice?

A:  According to Title 5, for major requirements, students may use the Catalog from the time they declare their major, the time they entered CSUEB (if that is after they declared their major), or their time of graduation, provided that they have continuous enrollment at a California community college or a CSU.  For general graduation requirements (including GE), students may use the Catalog of entry into California community college or CSU, the time of entry to CSUEB, or their time of graduation, provided that they have continuous enrollment at a California community college or a CSU.  Declaring the 2018-9 Catalog does not relinquish those rights.  So, if it turns out that you could graduate had you not switched, you can revert back to your quarter catalog provided that you have continuous enrollment at a California community college or a CSU.  However, you cannot declare rights to the 2018-9 after the end of the academic year.

Consult with your academic advisor on how changing your major will affect what courses you will need and the time to graduation. 

No. At the time of the semester conversion, annual academic year student tuition for two semesters will equal annual student tuition charged for three quarters. See our Pledge to Our Students

Yes, under the semester system the same fee structure will apply. See CSU Fee Schedules. The annual cost of your education will not be impacted by the quarter to semester transition. However, the cost per term will be higher because there are only 2 terms (semesters) vs. 3 terms (quarters). 

Yes, the fee installment plan will be available in semesters, 4 payments for the Fall and 4 payments for the Spring.

Housing fees vary from campus to campus and depend on the type of housing. Regardless of whether it is a quarter or semester academic schedule the rent/meals are based on similar amount of days in the academic year. Student Housing and Residence Life will continue to contract with students from the start of school and the contract will run through the last day of finals. Student Housing is committed to offering continuous housing to ensure our students will retain the right to stay on campus during the break period with full access to their residential hall. Contact the office of Student Housing and Residence Life at 510-885-7444 or via email at 

Parking fees will remain the same as they are based on the number of days. Given that the number of days will be close to those on the quarter schedule these fees will not change. The semester cost for a parking permit will be $195 ($130 x 3 quarters = $390/2 semesters = $195 per semester). Contact the Parking and Transportation department at 510-885-3790 or via email at 

Semester conversion should not adversely affect your financial aid package. A semester schedule will decrease the number of financial aid check disbursements. However, your financial aid is awarded for the academic year regardless of whether the school’s calendar is quarter or semester based. Financial aid recipients will see an adjustment in their award packages to accommodate this difference. The Office of Financial Aid will advise students on the impact semester conversion may have, if any, on their financial aid eligibility.

Campus offices that provide student services will experience fewer fluctuations in their scheduling as the semester calendar requires one less period to process documents or perform business transactions. Examples of these are: University Housing will have one less period to process applications for student housing; Accessibility Services will spend one less time determining student eligibility for accommodations; offices that employ students will spend less time verifying student eligibility for work on-campus; the Student Center for Academic Achievement will schedule tutors twice rather than three times per year. In general, the semester calendar is more efficient across the campus, potentially allowing offices to have more time for better planning, special projects for service improvement or enhancement and staff development.

The student services located in the University Union, such as food service, entertainment and information counter, and the ASI’s business unit that manages its budget and operates all the student services, will not be adversely affected by a change in the academic calendar. They will continue to serve the students all year long. 

The Center for International Education (CIE) coordinates the planning for students who wish to study abroad and provides a list of universities worldwide that students at the 23 CSU campuses can attend. Because most universities worldwide follow some version of a semester system, our conversion to semesters should make it easier for students to study abroad. It is also possible that students will have more opportunities for summer employment, internships, research opportunities, and summer study at other institutions on a semester calendar. Though employers and institutions try to work with students and their availabilities, 90% of colleges and universities follow the semester calendar, so many employers follow this schedule and begin seeking candidates for summer employment in early spring. Cal State East Bay will continue to offer a summer session through either state-support or self- support. 

TAs normally teach up to 20 hours per week (0.5 FTE, or 7.5 units). Under unusual circumstances TAs may teach a higher load. This will not change under semesters. 

TAs may teach beyond 0.5 FTE under unusual circumstances, but in no case may they exceed full time employment in a given semester. 

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