Six things students should know about J-Term and Intersession

With extra time between the fall and spring semesters, the university has added a three-week J-Term session in addition to the two-week Intersession it has offered for decades.

A winter view of the V C U Compass facing Cabell Library and Hibbs Hall.
Over 1,500 students have registered to take either J-Term or Intersession classes this winter. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

The changes to the 2020-21 academic calendar at Virginia Commonwealth University caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging for everyone, but they also have created opportunities. 

Modifications to the academic calendar mean the university is able to offer more classes between the end of the fall semester and the spring semester, which starts later than usual this year.

Here are six things students should know:

Two different sessions

For decades, VCU has offered an Intersession between the fall and spring semesters, and that will continue this year. Intersession courses run Monday through Saturday for two weeks and are three credits. All classes are online and the session runs from Dec. 28 through Jan. 9. 

The university is also offering a three-week J-Term, with classes running Monday through Friday. J-Term will be from Dec. 28 through Jan. 15. The three-week format allowed the university to offer classes that have not previously been available over the break. Some courses fit better with the three-week format, according to Daphne Long Rankin, Ph.D., associate vice president for summer studies and special programs.  

You can still register 

Students interested in taking a class before the start of the spring term need to visit the Intersession and J-Term webpage. Intersession class sections are listed with the letter “V” and J-Term class sections are listed with the letter “J.” 

The add/drop deadline for Intersession is Dec. 28 at 11:59 p.m. and the add/drop deadline for J-Term is Dec. 29 at 11:59 p.m. If a student has a hold on their account and is unable to drop or withdraw electronically, they can email by the deadline to request the drop/withdrawal.

Huge interest in the two sessions 

Over 1,500 students have already registered for either the J-Term or Intersession classes. Of those, over 600 are registered for Intersession and nearly 900 are taking a J-Term class, according to Rankin.   

The session does not affect the spring academic calendar 

J-Term fits into the calendar that was modified because of the pandemic. Normally, the spring semester would start Jan. 19, but the current calendar has classes starting Jan. 25. However, the semester will end at the normal time — May 13— because VCU is not offering students a spring break and is instead holding two reading days.

Tuition cost

The cost of the Intersession and J-Term will be billed with the spring semester tuition. 

Students receive details once registered

Registered students will receive emails with session details and information on services that will be provided on campus such as parking, library hours, academic support and IT support. Students should be aware that VCU Dining will not be providing services during the Intersession or J-Term. Information on local dining options will be provided.

If you have questions about the Intersession or J-Term, please contact the Office of Summer Studies and Special Programs at

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