Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
September 10, 2020

Spring Semester 2021 Academic Calendar Update

Dear Members of the CMU Community:

I am writing to you today to announce our plans to revise the Official Academic Calendar for 2020-21. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue through the winter months and with a desire to reduce the number of weeks we are in session during flu season, CMU will delay the start of the spring semester until February 1, 2021. In addition, this revised start date will allow our international students more time for visa processing and travel to arrive for spring semester. I would like to thank the Provost’s Committee on Academic Matters, Student Government leaders and Faculty Senate for their input on this revised academic calendar.

We currently intend to offer spring semester classes in the hybrid-learning approach similar to the fall semester (i.e., remote only, in-person plus remote and in-person only), which allows flexibility in the way students choose to pursue their CMU education. Our hybrid-learning approach allows students to continue their education throughout the spring semester even as the course of the pandemic evolves. Regardless of location, we will provide all CMU students with an outstanding experience this spring.

To accommodate a consolidated spring semester, we will adjust to a 14-week semester and shortened exam period, which aligns with most peer universities. In lieu of the spring break week, two individual break days will be distributed throughout the semester. These two break days are in addition to the three days of break that were already scheduled on the spring 2021 calendar for mid-semester break and Carnival. I have asked the Calendar Innovation Committee, chaired by professors Rebecca Nugent and Mark Stehlik, to make recommendations on the timing of these breaks throughout the semester. This committee has representation across all of the schools and colleges as well as Student Government and Student Affairs. The committee’s objectives are to spread out the break days over the semester and to ensure they are not scheduled the same days of the week.

The Official Academic Calendar has been updated to reflect the changes listed below and is posted on The HUB website (dates appearing as “TBD” will be finalized in October).

Key dates for spring 2021:

  • First day of classes: February 1
  • Mini 3: February 1 - March 19
  • Mini 4: March 22 - May 7
  • Spring Carnival: April 15 -17
  • Last day of classes: May 7
  • Final exams: May 8 -16
  • Commencement: May 23

Details concerning the summer term academic calendar will also be forthcoming. Programs, locations and campuses that have a separate calendar from the University’s Official Academic Calendar may not follow these exact dates.

Our health and safety protocols for the spring semester, including quarantine period required upon arrival, testing, contact tracing and isolation/quarantine, will be determined in accordance with the guidance from local and national public health experts.

For international students who have questions about winter break we encourage you to be in touch with the Office of International Education prior to your travel.

For residential students currently living on campus who need campus housing over the winter break, Housing Services will be providing details on how to make such arrangements in early October. For those students who were offered spring semester campus housing, the process and timing of move-in dates will also be announced at that time.

As we prepare for spring semester, we will continue to update you on our plans and share information on our COVID-19 website. We remain committed to supporting  the safety and well-being of our community while delivering excellence across our education and research missions.


Jim Garrett, Provost