FAQs: The Quarter System
What is the quarter system?
Quarters are shorter academic units than semesters and allow a school to offer three to four different sessions of classes per year. The Law School holds classes in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters each year (there are no classes during the summer). Students will be in class for the same amount of time as they would be under a semester system, but instead will have three separate sets of classes (and professors) during the academic year. Please visit our curriculum section to learn more about the quarter system.
When do the quarters start and end?
Our classes start in late September and end late in the spring:
Autumn Quarter: Late September to mid-December
Winter Quarter: Early January to mid-March
Spring Quarter: Early April to early June (2L and 3L students finish at the end of May)
Does the quarter system mean that I have a shorter summer break?
No, your summer break will not be any shorter than it would be under a semester system. Depending on your final exam schedule, most students have a summer break of about 12-15 weeks.
How does the quarter system affect summer employment?
The quarter system does not pose a problem for summer employment. Employers are familiar with the quarter system and typically accommodate it in their summer programs. Our second-year students simply start their summer employment a few weeks later than they would under a semester system. Because our classes begin much later in the fall, our students may be able to stay at their summer jobs for an additional 2-4 weeks after other students have returned to school if an employer permits.
When does fall on-campus interviewing occur?
Our fall on-campus interviewing program is held in August before classes begin. This schedule allows students to focus on securing their second-year summer employment before classes begin and they do not have to miss class for interviews.
What do Chicago students think about the quarter system?
The biggest advantage is that students get to take more classes and more professors than they would under a semester system, which means greater exposure to more areas of the law and more legal issues. Classes are shorter keeping students highly engaged in the subject matter. Many students may tell you that the pace of the quarter system moves quickly and keeps them working hard.
Do I have more exams during my first year of law school?
No, because most of our 1L courses are held over two quarters (but only have one exam), our first year students are eased into their exams and only have a total of eight first-year exams. First-year students take two exams at the end of Autumn quarter, two exams at the end of Winter quarter, and four exams at the end of Spring quarter. This alleviates some of the pressure for the first set of law school exams.