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Can you explain the U of A academic calendar?

Actually, I think the University of Arizona academic calendar is pretty reasonable and straightforward, but I’d like to know how it looks to an outsider. Sometimes students seem confused by our U of A calendar. What’s the most interesting feature of the U of A academic calendar?

Eric Morgan

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Ralph Lopez on August 20, 2018

So the students need to have their attention called to the U of A’s academic calendar, do they? No problem. It’s about as straightforward as academic schedules can be.

Every school has a plan (subject to change) outlining when students need to register, when classes begin, when breaks and holidays occur, and so on. The University of Arizona’s academic calendar is online at http://catalog.arizona.edu/calendar/2018-2019-academic-calendar .

To summarize, the University of Arizona at Tucson uses something closer to a 4-4 calendar than to a 4-1-4 calendar. Fall 2018 classes run from 20 August to 14 December. Either winter break or winter session classes take place between 17 December and 9 January 2019. Spring 2019 classes run from 9 January to 1 May, with spring break between 2-10 March. Major holidays are observed, and the day before exam week is a “Reading Day” with no class meetings. Summer classes follow one of seven overlapping schedules between 13 May and 17 August.

For outsiders, the most interesting (mysterious) feature of U of A’s calendar is the “Convocations” of the different colleges that make up the university. Rather than religious services or cultural enrichment, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, https://commencement.arizona.edu/ceremonies , it seems to mean that each degree program has its own graduation ceremonies.

It’s possible to complete a degree without participating in a commencement ceremony, but it’s more fun to buy the traditional trappings and “march” to receive a paper diploma: https://commencement.arizona.edu/essentials-and-gifts .

For students, a crucial part of the U of A website is the Cost and Aid page at https://admissions.arizona.edu/cost-aid . Most students need financial aid, and most get federal aid; some also qualify for merit scholarships. The best time to apply for financial aid for classes starting in August would be before the previous March. It’s possible to get federal funding by applying later than the “best” date, especially if you or your parents are actually below the poverty line, which may activate a verification process—but it’s easier if you apply before the “best” date.

Another important part of a student’s calendar should be the application dates for scholarships. I’m checking this site in August. All scholarship deadlines for the academic year that starts this month are already past. Visit this page https://scholarshipuniverse.arizona.edu/SUHA/Scholarships to apply for the next year.

Kurt Price9 months ago

If most of the students need financial aid, why are financial aid and scholarship deadlines not on the U of A academic calendar? Public schools are fallback or “safety” options for many students. A lot of people transfer to a public university after they’ve found that a university like Stanford or Loma Linda sets a faster pace than they can keep up. So if a person does not know that he or she needs to be in classes at the University of Arizona on the 20th of August before, say, the 14th of August (when the person realizes that she or he is not Stanford Material), should that person not be able to receive financial aid starting whenever the person realizes that he or she is going to have to get any degree she or he ever does get in Tucson? Why make it so difficult? College is hard enough already. 

Larry Warren9 months ago

The previous comment comes from a student, yes? First: Financial aid deadlines are neither absolute nor relevant to every student checking the U of A academic calendar. Next: Financial aid comes out of the federal budget. That budget is planned in advance. The earlier the federal government has a count of the number of students they need to assist, the more likely they are to have money. A student may get into classes even after the opening day on the University of Arizona academic calendar, but shouldn’t plan on it. 


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