System Procedure 3.34.1 Official Academic Semester Start Dates

System Procedures
Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

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for Board Policy 3.34

Part 1. Official Academic Semester Start Dates
The official academic semester start dates for credit courses shall be established at least one year (12 months) prior to implementation.

Part 2. General Provisions for Establishing Academic Semester Start Dates
The following criteria shall be considered when establishing academic semester start dates:

  1. Fall semester start date will allow for the student contact time necessary to complete the semester, including exams, prior to December 24.
  2. A winter break (of approximately three weeks) will be established between the official fall and spring academic semesters.
  3. Spring semester start date will accommodate the winter break and attempt to start on the second Monday in January.

Part 3. Academic Calendar Notification Process
Each president shall notify the chancellor of their college or university academic calendar dates at least four (4) months in advance of the official system established fall semester start date. This information must be used to develop and post a master schedule of Minnesota State college and university operating dates. This notification must include the following:

  1. official system academic semester start dates,
  2. legal holidays,
  3. end date for each academic semester,
  4. breaks within each semester,
  5. final date for official course withdrawal*,
  6. final exam dates,
  7. faculty professional development days,
  8. college and university wide employee professional development days, and
  9. a list of special (or alternate) academic semester schedules with the target audience and the beginning and end dates identified.
*Final date for official course withdrawal
The final date for official course withdrawal is the last day students may officially terminate their enrollment in a course.  The official course withdrawal date is when eighty percent (80%) of the days in the academic semester have elapsed. For courses not on a standard academic semester schedule, the final date for official course withdrawal must be established as the date on which eighty percent (80%) of the instructional days for the course have elapsed.

Part 4. Exceptions to the Official Academic Semester Start Date

Subpart A. Exception request submission
Any exception to the official academic semester start dates must be requested by the president in writing, must include the justification for the exception request, and must be submitted to the chancellor no later than three weeks after the formal Minnesota State announcement of the official start date.

Subpart B. Chancellor decision on the exception request
The senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs shall recommend to the chancellor a decision regarding the exception request. The chancellor shall inform the requesting college or university of the decision on the exception request within six (6) weeks of the request submission. A copy of the decision notification must be provided to the Board of Trustees, college and university presidents, and the leadership of the faculty and employee unions and student associations.  

Subpart C. Closed and noncredit CECT course exceptions
Closed and non-credit customized training and continuing education courses are exempt from the official academic semester start dates.

Related Documents:

System Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 08/13/06
Date of Implementation: 08/27/07
Date of Last Review: 05/22/20

Date & Subject of Amendments:

05/22/20 – Added “for credit courses” to Part 1, added language exempting noncredit courses to Part 4, subpart C, and made technical edits throughout the procedure.


Additional HISTORY.