Summer Session offers flexibility for balancing learning with other summer plans through three 4-week terms, two 8-week terms and a 12-week term. Additional terms of varying length include field, weekend and online classes. Most students take close to six credits over the summer. Summer Session supports focused study while providing the opportunity to complete a difficult course, fulfill a prerequisite, concentrate on one or two classes, or enroll in a special topic course. The majority of CSU students participate in Summer Session at some point, which helps them stay on track for graduation and realize long-lasting financial benefits.

Educational Benefits

  • Improve GPA
    • Many CSU students who take summer classes improve their grade point average
  • Take a class that may have a waiting list during the fall or spring semesters
  • Explore a new interest
  • Change or add to a program of study:
    • Add a minor or concentration
    • Add or change a major
  • Gain experience through internships, research, study abroad, and experiential/field courses
  • Take one or two classes at a time to focus deeply on fewer subjects
  • Smaller class size allows for:
    • More individual attention from faculty
    • Building a strong learning community
    • Enhanced in-class discussion

Financial Benefits

Summer Session can be an integral part of graduating in four years, or accelerating time to graduation.

  • Spend less: Graduating late may have negative financial effects including additional living and educational expenses
  • Earn money sooner: By accelerating time to graduation, students enter the job market earlier
  • Tuition: If tuition increases, it usually increases in the fall semester
  • Tuition discount for non-residents in Summer Session Learn more

Financial aid may be available for summer. Half-time enrollment is typically required for financial aid purposes (6 credits for undergraduates; 5 credits for graduate students). Please consult with a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid to determine your specific needs and options.

Benefits of Time

Lighten course load in other semesters

College students are working more hours throughout the school year than ever, which may compromise credit progress towards degree and GPA.

  • Summer Session can help in balancing work and scholastic commitments and distributing more demanding courses across semesters.

Stay on track for graduating in four years

Summer Session classes can contribute to graduating in four years.

Earn credits before freshman year

High school students may take classes before their first semester of college. This can help to ease the transition to college life, while earning credits in advance. These students may:

  1. Take classes through CSU online if taking online classes only
  2. Enroll as a “Summer-Only student” and take face-to-face classes.

Please note: If admitted as a degree-seeking student beginning with the summer term, students must attend summer session in order to remain admitted for fall semester.

Reach the next class level:

  • Sophomore (completion of 30 credits by end of freshmen year)
  • Junior (completion of 60 credits by end of sophomore year)
  • Senior (completion of 90 credits by end of junior year)
  • Completion of degree (120 credits or more depending on program of study)


Explore what formats work best for your learning preferences and success. Assess the advantages/disadvantages of face-to-face courses and online courses for your situation:

  • Smaller campus class size means more opportunity to build community with students and more individual attention from faculty
  • Online classes provide flexibility for studying at a distance, working, and balancing study and life demands.
    • The majority of online courses are not self-paced
    • Online classes can simplify transportation logistics and costs

Success Tips

The condensed course formats mean a fast start and consistent pace will contribute to success and deep learning.
As an example, fitting a 3-credit, 16-week course into a shorter time period can make:

  • A 4-week term feel like 12 credits
  • An 8-week term feel like 6 credits
  • A 12-week term feel like 4 credits

Build in more time to study to keep up with the faster pace of summer courses. If attending overlapping terms, you’ll need to compensate accordingly.

Keep in mind:

  • Studying daily can be helpful; tests may occur more often
  • Utilize campus resources; most offices are open all summer
  • Labs are intense in an 8-week term
  • Students may not be able to work and go to school if taking a full credit load