How Long Are College Classes

How Long Are College Classes

The transition from high school to college exposes you to a wide variety of changes and greater responsibilities. As a college freshman, you will need to adapt quickly to the new environment, changes in class duration, and different types of classes from your prior high school class. 

College grants students the ability to build on their independence and increase their level of responsibility as it is the first time most students have been separated from their parents or guardians.

Students are tasked with the sole responsibility of controlling and managing their time and also picking courses relevant to their chosen major

Students who practice proper time management tend to succeed over their counterparts. One of the main questions asked by college freshmen is “how long are college classes”

Most college freshmen start to ask questions like this to know how to start organizing their stay in school even before school resumption. 

Understanding how long college classes tend to run will enable you to plan and help in transitioning from the high school class duration to college classes duration

This article will focus on how long college classes are in order to help in efficient planning and early organization of your academics and social life in school.

How long are college classes?

Trying to understand and adapt to college can seem like being integrated into a completely different society with new terminologies and new class duration. 

In college, the amount of time spent in a class every week is referred to as “credit hours”.

Credit hours in colleges are determined using contact hours, contact hours are the exact amount of time you spend in the classroom where the professor is teaching. 

One college credit hour is equal to 15-16 hours. A contact hour usually ranges from 50-mins to 1-hour. You are required to obtain a certain amount of contact hours before you can get a credit hour.

Credit hours are calculated in a complete semester which lasts from 15-16 weeks. Most seminar and college courses have a 3-credit hour worth

College classes like the laboratory, studios, fieldwork, and internship have a separate unique way of calculating their credit hours.

How long college classes last depend mostly on 

1) College unit

The duration of a college class is directly affected by college units. At this point, you might be wondering what college units are. A college unit is defined as the “value indicating the amount of college credit given to a particular course in college.

College units are one of the basic ways of measuring the value a school places on a particular class. Various factors influence the value of every class.

The college unit affects the duration of a college class directly because the higher the creditworthiness of a particular course the higher the amount of time spent in the class.

It is a well-known fact that the degree of importance of various courses in college varies. 

A college class that is of higher precedence will be found to record a greater amount of time spent in class, a higher degree of required diligence, and will be worth more credit units than other courses.

In college, a one-unit course represents a class that holds for one hour a week for lecture classes and tutorials or two to three hours for field laboratory, studio, and workshop practice in a semester.

A 2-unit course is a course that meets twice for one hour a week every semester. A 3-unit class will meet twice for 1.5 hours in a week per semester. Most colleges offer courses with a 3-4 college unit.

The higher the no of times a college class holds and the duration of each of the classes determine the college unit of that course

2) Different subjects

The particular subject or course can directly affect the duration of a college class. Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics courses that require classes spent in the laboratory performing practicals will require a higher amount of class duration. 

Extended class hours in various subjects are mostly to provide time for students to organize presentations and discussions.

The level of difficulty of the subject course also affects how long a college class lasts. Upper major classes will be found to meet more frequently and for a longer period compared to the minor classes and general education classes. 

It’s important to note that the period spent in college classes is just one side of the coin. You will spend an additional period outside the class studying topic treated in the previous class and working on projects and assignments.

How long are high school classes?

To truly understand how long college classes are you are required to have a basic knowledge of how the time of college classes and the duration of a high school class differ.

High school students generally run a 4-year school plan. The high school classes are characterized by their state standards curriculum and absence or a little amount of flexibility.

The class timetable in a high school is the same for every day and occurs in the same classroom. High school students have a standard timetable that assigns at least six classes for students every day.

The elective section of the curriculum does not hold for the whole semester but can last for a spring or fall semester. Core high school classes like English and maths run for the entire academic year. The duration of a. 

Specific subject in high school depends on the institution’s curriculum. A particular subject might last for an hour depending on the time allotted to it on the timetable. 

What is the difference between college and high school class duration?

Duration of high school classes differs from the college classes duration as the latter offers its students more freedom and flexibility.

Unlike the high school class where a pre-determined class schedule is constantly followed, college students are offered the opportunity to modify their class time and classes in order to determine what works best for them.

In colleges, class sessions can hold in the morning or late afternoon.

Another characteristic of the college class duration which is different from the high school type is the summer classes.

You can enroll in classes during the summer session which gives the college student the opportunity of having a lighter college schedule and course load.

Summer classes will give you time to participate in social activities and take any other class outside your selected discipline.

How long does a semester in college last?

Colleges that employ the use of the semester calendar schedule model offer two distinct terms of classics in a year. A year is made up of two-semester.

The duration of a normal college semester ranges from 15-16 weeks. It is possible to witness very short semesters which last for about 13 to 14 weeks, an example is the summer semester.

The length of a semester is not always constant for different colleges and the values provided above are just estimates.

The duration of a college semester varies within the range depending on the college and the different ways they run their various programs.

The online college semester is an exception to this regular semester duration. The online college offers online courses that typically last about 8-9 weeks, which is half of the duration of the regular college semester.

Sometimes, online courses or online schools have semesters that are more like a half-semester at 8 weeks long. 

Despite the fact that some colleges run a different semester program from their counterparts to accelerate the duration of the program, some colleges run the same semester duration as their counterparts.

Certain college students and applicants prefer to run the online course program. The online course program grants its students flexibility, 


One of the first questions googled by college applicants or newly admitted college students is “how long college classes last”

New students normally tend to gravitate towards questions like this as they try to figure out if the new educational setting they’re about to venture into is similar to their past high school settings. 

Having a basic overview of how long college lasts enables you the option to start planning earlier on how to maximize the use of your time in school. 

Most new college students use the period before school resumes to get acquainted with the new educational setting, both figuring out how the type of classes are held in college, how long college classes hold, and how credit hours are calculated.

Proper time management in college is key to attaining success in your area of study. You mustn’t underestimate how much you can maximize your time with an adequate prior planning of your class schedule in order to prepare for success and not necessarily face struggles in school.

Frequently asked questions

How long do college classes last on average?

An average college class lasts between 50-55 minutes, meeting two to three times a week.

How does a college course schedule differ from high school?

The high school class schedule is mostly monotonous and restrictive while college classes give the opportunity for freedom and flexibility.

Do all courses have the same class length?

No, the duration of a class mostly depends on the college unit attached to the course.

Are college classes year-long or semester-long?

The calendar used depends on the particular college. Some might prefer the splitting of an academic year into two semesters while others might run more than one term.

Is it possible to have a break session in college classes?

Yes, some long classes will take a break session after class.


How Long Are College Classes

Leave a Comment