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. Learn more about the quarter system.

When do the quarters start and end? 

Our classes start in late September/early October and end in May/June: 

Autumn Quarter: Late September to mid-December
Winter Quarter: Early January to mid-March
Spring Quarter: Late March to late May (2L and 3L students finish mid-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 couple 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. Some students are even able to work two jobs. 

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.

What do UChicago students think about the quarter system? 

The biggest advantage is students get to take more classes with more professors than they would under a semester system. This 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 the pace of the quarter system moves quickly and keeps them working hard.  

What does the 1L year look like under the quarter system? 

Because the quarter system allows for more classes than a semester system, first-year students are exposed to more classes in the 1L year than a typical first-year student. In addition to legal writing and the core first-year classes (civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, torts, and property), students also take a uniquely UChicago Law class called "Elements of the Law," a transactional lawyering class, a legislation and statutory interpretation class, a choice of three constitutional law classes, and an elective. The increased exposure makes you a more well-rounded student at the end of 1L year and gives you a more holistic jumping off point as you choose classes for your second and third years.