Academic Calendar & Final Exams

Calendar Year

NDSU operates on a semester system consisting of two standard 16-week fall and spring semesters, plus a final examination week. A 12-week summer semester is also offered. In all semesters, variable-length, short-session courses are available, and meet the same total contact (class) hours as in a standard semester. See definition of an academic credit.

Mid-Term

The mid-term point of a standard semester is approximately 40 class days after the standard semester start. See mid-term grading.

Summer Semester

The 12-week summer semester is designed to provide coursework within various time intervals called sessions. Summer classes carry full credit because classes meet the same number of contact hours as in the standard fall or spring semester. Students should refer to the Dates and Deadlines webpage on the Registration and Records website for session start and end dates, as well as the drop/add deadlines for the summer semester.

Each college or department determines its summer offerings, based upon previous enrollments, programmatic needs, and special requests. Special effort is made to offer courses approved for fulfilling general education requirements. For information on summer school, please refer to the summer session website.  

Final Examinations

The schedule for final examinations is determined and published by the Office of Registration and Records.

Final examinations (NDSU Policy 336) in one-credit or variable length short courses are usually given during the last regular class period. Final examinations for all other courses may not be rescheduled during the final examination period. According to State Board of Higher Education policy, the final examination period is instructional time and, if an examination is not given, some instructional use of this period is expected. Final examinations for summer school and distance and continuing education classes are arranged by the instructors.

No student shall be obligated to take more than three final examinations scheduled for the same calendar day. In the event that a student has four or more final examinations on the same calendar day, the student shall notify the instructor(s) from the highest numbered course(s) no later than two weeks before the last day of class to schedule a make-up examination to be administered at a mutually acceptable time.

Dead Week

Only one exam or quiz per course may be given during the last two weeks of the semester (prorated accordingly for variable length courses), which includes finals week. Exceptions include summer classes, self-paced/correspondence courses, make-up exams, courses in which laboratory is incorporated with a lecture, one-credit courses, and quizzes that account for less than 5% of the students' overall grade. If a professor chooses to give an exam during the last week of classes, he/she is expected to make some instructional use of the final examination time.