A semester at a higher education institution of learning, such as a college or university, is typically 16 weeks long. This includes a one-week break for the week of Thanksgiving during the fall semester and one week for Spring Break in the spring. Semester length, however, varies by institution.
Some colleges and universities condense semesters to 14 weeks, or even expand semesters to 20 weeks. Half-semester courses at some colleges and universities are typically eight weeks long, or half the length of the semester, and the courses meet twice as many times as they would if the classes were scheduled as full semester courses.