Life University (Life U) is a rather unique institution in many ways, and one area in which that is made apparent is through our use of the quarter system as opposed to the more common semester system. The American Economic Association noted in a 2022 study that only roughly 5% of U.S. colleges and universities currently employ a quarter system. For those new to the quarter system, it is undoubtedly going to be an adjustment that requires impeccable time management skills, yet studying in quarters has suited many Life U students rather well.

The Life U academic year is divided into four quarters: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each quarter is 11 weeks long, and some classes are taught in five-week increments. There is a one-week break after both the Winter and Summer Quarters, and a two-to-three-week break after the Spring and Fall Quarters, depending on corresponding holidays. It is not uncommon for students to opt not to attend during the Summer Quarter, especially in the undergraduate programs.

Reflections on the Quarter System

Whether or not the quarter system is the best learning style for you depends on your individual needs, interests and commitment level. lays out the differences between quarter versus semester schedules in their article “The Semester vs. Quarter System in College.” One major reason why Life U utilizes the quarter system is due to the flexibility it lends our student body to take more courses in a shorter time frame. According to the Fall 2023 Annual Life University Factbook, 68 percent of our student body is enrolled in either the Doctor of Chiropractic or a graduate program, meaning that a potential shortened graduation timeframe is fiscally attractive and advantageous.

The quarter system also gives students the opportunity to explore different majors or even double major, as well as take on elective courses they might not have otherwise been able to. It also allows for a bit more focus, taking fewer classes at once in a more in-depth way as opposed to taking more classes for a longer period. Full-time students usually take three-to-four classes in a standard quarter. Shorter breaks between quarters for full-time students also helps keep up the momentum and not lose too much steam.

One drawback to keep in mind relates simply to the fact that the quarter schedule doesn’t always neatly align with the semester schedule that many others are used to, so it can create challenges related to internships or study abroad. These challenges vary depending on major, however, as chiropractic students at Life U have immense access to internships and international programs as part of the PEAK Program.


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