How Long Are Summer Classes in US and Canada Universities?

Last Updated on August 5, 2022 by David Shaw

How Long Are Summer Classes in US and Canada Universities

When it comes to holiday breaks in college, Summer is definitely what college students look forward to the most. Given that college students can easily get 3 months of break from school, there are also many productive things you can make out of Summer classes in college. While researching about Summer classes, many might ask how long do Summer classes last?

Summer classes usually span for a little over a month in duration, and no longer than 2 months which is significantly shorter than the average semester of the quarter. Summer classes are often quick-paced and more challenging due to the materials being heavily condensed.

If you feel taking a 3-month break from school is too much, or fear that the long break might wear off your motivation when classes start in Fall, then Summer classes can be a great option to help you stay in the game. In this article, we will also share tips on how you can more productively spend the next Summer.

Summer Classes Are Offered in Various Sessions and Format

Many Universities in the US and Canada usually offer 3 sessions of different timelines to ensure more flexibility for students to take as well as make it more appealing and attainable.

Types of Summer coursesDuration
Normal Summer Session5-7 weeks
First session (First half of Summer)3-5 weeks
Second session (Second half of Summer)3-5 weeks

Another thing you might not know is that taking Summer classes at other universities of college is totally possible and what many smart students do. You read that right, but you might wonder why would anyone do this and what benefits does it bring?

Thankfully, the answer is simpler and more interesting than you think. Students mainly take classes at another college for mainly 4 reasons—the syllabus of classes are easier, tuition fees are cheaper, the units for the class are transferrable, and asynchronous classes.

Understanding the Application of Classes With Transferrable Units

Classes with transferrable units are a major factor for students to consider taking Summer classes at different universities or colleges. And conveniently, due to the shorter duration of Summer classes, many students want to make use of this opportunity to earn some credits can that be counted towards the progress of their Bachelor’s Degree.

Classes taken at a different university where its units are transferrable can be leveraged to your advantage. Say if your university requires you to take a History class as a required elective, many students will choose to take them at a community college which is often easier, and the units can transfer back to your university to clear the elective requirement.

Enrolling in Summer classes at another university is also particularly easy. If you wish to do so, you’re not necessarily going through the direct-admission enrollment process, and that means no SAT scores, supplemental essays, or high school transcripts are required. Check out a university’s website on their Summer courses and programs for the most accurate details and requirements.

You Still Can Enjoy Summer Break Even if You Take Summer Classes

Now that you know Summer classes don’t span and take up the whole 3 months of your precious Summer time, that simply means you still can enjoy and have breathing space away from homework and exams if you choose to take Summer classes.

If you’re also wondering about the number of holidays in US colleges, check out this article on How Many Days of Holiday Are There in US Colleges? Lists of All Holidays.

Things to Know About Taking Summer Classes

Other than the fact Summer classes are notoriously short and condensed with lecture materials and exams, there are a few more general things you should about taking Summer classes.

– Not All Classes Are Offered During Summer

It is not at all surprising if you find that there is only a limited variety of classes during the Summer. Some universities either choose not to offer them in the Summer or maybe there are no instructors available to teach them.

This is mostly the reason why certain classes, typically the higher-level ones are not offered in Summer. However, you might still possibly find similar courses offered in an online format on certain platforms or universities if the subject is really popular.

Summer, Winter & Spring Breaks in US Colleges: How Long Are They?

– Presents Many Research and Internship Opportunities

Summer is a time when many research opportunities arise for students, many professors will proactively offer students that stand out to them to participate in their research projects, or if they show interest in their research projects which sometimes pay you a stipend. Speaking of getting paid, internship opportunities are also very active in the recruitment process, and they often give you very good leads and connections to help kickstart your career.

– Lose Focus and You’ll Quickly Fall Behind in Class

Summer classes really require you to invest a strict amount of time and stick to a routine to ensure you’ll do well. Midterms and quizzes might occur weekly, and the next thing you know, finals will arrive and you will quickly be left behind if you’re not putting in the time and work for the class.

Alternatives to Taking Summer Classes in Universities

Are you also asking what’s a better alternative to taking summer classes to boost your productivity? Site tight because we have the perfect answer for you, and that is online classes that come in both free and paid options.

Thanks to the plethora of resources available on the internet today, you really can find many free, high-quality contents that teach you on virtually any subject or topic you can think of.

Stanford’s Free Online Courses

Stanford University invests a great deal into providing everyone with a variety of top-notch lectures and courses completely for free. Given that it is one of the top 10 academic institutions in the world, you can rest assured that you’ll get exposed to high-quality lectures and be in good standing if you just put in the effort and hours of work on this platform.

EdX’s Online Courses From Top Universities Around the World is one of my favorites, with over 3,000 free courses by more than 160 partnering universities. Like Stanford’s free online courses, the lecture and assignments are totally asynchronous, allowing you to flexibly schedule your learning time. EdX partners with top universities to fully offer classes and give you the option to pay for a digital certificate upon completion.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational-oriented organization that provides free lectures in formats like in high school, which also covers higher-level materials that can also be found in universities. Oftentimes, if I need to refresh some fundamentals of a class like Economics, Chemistry, Physics, or any subject you can really think of then Khan Academic is always there to help.

Youtube videos

Learning a new skill on Youtube really needs no introduction, but it can be challenging due to the distractions in the video suggestion algorithm loop we might fall into. Being a social entertainment website that is driven focus, Youtube’s search algorithm always steers you towards many other videos that might sidetrack you from your goals or a productive day.

Despite that, Youtube undoubtedly also has an endless amount of high-quality content being published by creators. If we discipline ourselves, learning Youtube is a superb and powerful free alternative to kickstart your new interests in a subject, side hustle, or even dream job.

Udemy (Paid)

Udemy is a platform where anyone with a passion to teach can because an instructor through the internet. Although its courses require you to pay for them, there are tons of good courses with rich materials that are based on people’s experience and personal research that is offered at dirt cheap prices under $16.

For the low price you pay, some courses designed by Udemy’s partners have more than 40 hours of learning content, which is often equivalent to covering the same amount of materials you will learn in a college semester or quarter.


Coursera is sort of a mixed version of Udemy and EdX combined, offering tons of free courses where you can optionally pay for a digital certificate. When comparing Udemy to Coursera, EdX, or Stanford Online Free courses, Udemy is more relaxed as you don’t have time assignments and course duration. Regardless, whichever platform you use and put the effort into learning will yield a good return on investment of your time during the Summer.

More Resources

Best Easy-A Classes to Boost Your GPA in College

9 Helpful Benefits Students Get From Summer Classes

How Many Days of Holiday Are There in US Colleges? Lists of All Holidays

Summer, Winter & Spring Breaks in US Colleges: How Long Are They?

David Shaw

I enjoy blogging about the college experience, teaching people how to navigate and hack their way through college. I also enjoy promoting financial literacy among young individuals.

Recent Posts