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You Ask, We Answer: What is January Term?

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Students wearing backpacks walk across a snowy Red Square in the center of PLU's campus
May 9, 2023

At PLU, we have a 4-1-4 term system. This means that we have a four month fall semester, a four month spring semester, and a one month January term (or J-Term for short) in between, where you’ll fit in an entire semester of usually just one class into the month of January.

If you are on campus for J-Term, you will likely be in your class three hours a day, Monday through Friday. J-Term is a really great opportunity to take a deep dive into a certain topic. Some students choose to take one of the new or innovative courses offered on campus that fits their interest. Others choose to take a required course that they might be less excited about because they can fit it into one month instead of a four month term. For either of these types of students, J-Term provides a nice break between the two, longer terms in the fall and spring.

There are also opportunities for students to study away in January. There are a variety of international and domestic faculty-led study away courses available. For students who aren’t wanting to spend a full semester abroad, or for those who might want to be somewhere a little bit warmer, J-term study away might be the best fit. J-Term study away programs do have a fee; however, there are scholarships available, such as the Global Scholar Awards, as well as external study away scholarships.

J-Term is required for first-year students, but after that you may not need to take a J-Term. Some majors require you to take all of your J-Terms (such as Nursing or Music Education). Other students may decide to take all of their J-Terms because it might mean that they can take a lighter load of credits in fall or spring term. Whether you decide to stay in Parkland or travel abroad, take your J-Term or take a break, we hope that you stay warm and enjoy what January has to offer!

Guest Blogger: Mary Gerhardstein, Admission Counselor