Calendar Reform FAQs

What are the main things I need to know about the proposed new calendar? 

  • Fall semester would start September 1-6 (before Labor Day in two years out of seven)
  • Classes would start on the Tuesday after Labor Day (September 2-6) or on the Wednesday before Labor Day (September 1-2)
  • 9-day midterm break in fall and spring
  • 5-day Thanksgiving break
  • Reading period shortened by 1 day in the fall; spring reading period remains unchanged
  • Final exam period shortened to 7 days in both fall and spring, with an extra 2 days for senior comprehensive exams in the spring
  • Fall semester would end between December 19 and 23 (on December 23 in one year out of seven)
  • Dean’s Date would be in December; fall JP deadline would remain in January
  • January would include a 2-week Wintersession, a space for optional, non-credit-bearing activities
  • Spring semester would start and end 1 week earlier than the current calendar
  • Summer period (starting after Commencement) would be 1 day shorter in five years out of seven, and one week shorter in two years out of seven

Why is calendar reform under consideration?

Princeton’s current calendar has many positive and unique features, including a twelve-week teaching period followed by an extended reading period in which students can consolidate their learning and prepare for end-of-term assessments.  The full-week midterm breaks in fall and spring are another strength of our current model.  The proposed changes to the calendar seek to preserve these positive characteristics while addressing the difficulties created for students by the placement of fall exams in January.

Moving fall final exams to December would alleviate the stress associated with a winter break in which students are not able to fully rest and recharge, eliminate some of the financial burden associated with multiple breaks and trips home in December/January, and create a 2-week “Wintersession” in January, with optional, non-credit-bearing activities.  These changes would also bring our calendar into alignment with our peers, which would better facilitate learning opportunities such as visiting student and faculty exchanges, as well as study abroad and internship experiences for students.

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