University sessions: what are they – and when?

So you’ve got a place at uni – well done! Now, let’s get organised. First item on the list: figuring out when you’ll actually be studying. To know that, you’ll need to understand university sessions. What they are. When they are. And which ones you’ll most likely be studying in.

Here’s the lowdown.

What are university sessions?

University sessions are the academic periods during which courses take place. They’re when you’ll attend lectures. Collaborate with your peers in tutorials. Maybe do practical workshops. Listen to guest industry speakers. Complete assignments. Sit exams.

You know, all the good stuff.

And you study in the same sessions – with the same dates – whether you’re learning on campus or online.

How long are university sessions?

Generally, a university session is 12 weeks long.

At Charles Sturt, if you’re studying a bachelor’s degree full-time, you study for two sessions each year. Between these sessions, you’ll enjoy what’s known as the mid-year break, which usually lasts for three weeks. This allows you to recharge, get ahead on your studies, explore extracurricular activities or take a holiday. Plus, within each session, you’ll get a shorter break – of around two weeks – called, you guessed it, a mid-session break.

When do university sessions usually start?

The first session of the year typically begins in February or March. This marks the start of the academic year. So, if you’re a high school student who has completed their HSC and got their results and secured a place at uni (maybe through the Charles Sturt Advantage?), this is when you’ll typically start your university journey.

The second session starts in July or August. In certain circumstances, you can start your degree in session two instead of session one, if you need to.

There is also a third session, which typically starts in November. As a general rule, session three is when postgraduate students can choose to start a course or take on extra subjects, depending on their degree.

If you’re looking for a shorter course, such as a micro-credential, you can usually start studying at lots of different points throughout the year.

How are sessions different from semesters?

Short answer: they’re not that different. People often use the terms interchangeably. If an academic year has two sessions, that’s a semester system. If it has three, it’s called a trimester year.

And what about terms?

Good question! Basically, sessions represent the overarching structure of the academic year, while terms break down the sessions into manageable study periods.

A session comprises multiple terms, and the terms collectively make up the academic activities for that session.

Terms provide a more detailed structure to your session, allowing you to focus on specific subjects or learning activities during each one.

Can I see my session start dates?

No worries; we’ve got you covered.

Can I talk to someone about study dates?

Of course! Just reach out to our team of university advisers. They’ll answer any questions you have around sessions, as well as study at Charles Sturt.