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 classes and weekend classes. Most students take less than 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.

Practical Reasons to Attend Summer Session

  • Explore a new interest
  • Improve GPA
    • More than 60% of CSU students who took a summer class improved their grade point average
  • Take a class that may have a waiting list during the fall or spring semesters
  • Add a minor or concentration
  • Add or change a major
  • Gain experience through internships, research, study abroad, and experiential/field courses

Academic Planning Benefits

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

Planning Ahead for Financial Benefits

  • Save money: 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. Students should meet with a counselor from the Office of Financial Aid.

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.

Accelerate time to graduation

At least half of CSU students who graduate in four years or less take at least one summer course

Stay on Track for 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” if admitted for fall semester
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.
    1. The majority of online courses are not self-paced
    2. 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:

  • 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