What is Winter Term at Elon University?

Brrr… it is a bit cold outside, but at least the sun is shining!   Today’s Destination:  Elon post is going to talk a little bit about Winter Term.  I know it can be a confusing time for students to understand because I actually do not think there is a part on the Elon website that addresses this part of the academic year.  I have written posts about this topic in the past (“Winter Term 2010” and “What is Winter Term at Elon?” and “Winter Term Memories“) – certainly these posts are also helpful in explaining Winter Term at Elon as well.

One of the patterns that I have noticed with this blog is that many students come to this site after searching for key words like “elon”, “elon winter term”, “winter term at Elon”, etc.  Thus I always find it helpful to talk a bit about Winter Term and this year, Anthony will also be sharing what a typical day is like for a student during Winter Term.  Hopefully this will give you a better sense of what this term is like at Elon.

To provide the basics, Elon University’s academic calendar is divided up into 3 separate parts.  There is a fall semester which lasts from end of August until the middle of December.  During the semester, students will typically take 4 or more classes.  The spring semester, which begins at the beginning of February and lasts until mid-May, also has a student taking 4 or more classes.   This is a similar schedule to most universities.  What is different about Elon University is the month of January.  January is known as Winter Term or J-Term.  It is when students who are here will take just one class, five days a week for three hours every day.  It is an intensive learning experience where the student is just focusing on a particular topic.

There are a variety of classes offered at this time.  For example, a student could take “Principles of Financial Accounting” or “Corporate Publishing” or “Elementary French I” or “Introduction to Philosophical Thinking”.  These are all courses that are foundational courses required for various majors.  Thus a student could choose to fulfill a course requirement, particularly if the subject matter would be not the student’s favorite or strongest subject.

Other courses offered at this time provide unique opportunities to study subject matter (either inside or outside of the major).  Often these courses revolve around a particular theme for Winter Term.  This year’s Winter Term theme is “From the Past:  Through the Present: Into the Future.”  It is a broad theme which you can certainly see reflected in the more unique courses listed below:

  • Anthropology of Tourism [an Religious studies/Anthropology course]
  • The Archaeology of Death [an Art History course]
  • Should Cloning and Genetic Engineering Be a Part of Our Future? [a Biology course]
  • Kitchen Chemistry [a Chemistry course]
  • The Sundance Experience [a Communications course]
    • This course includes 1 week at the Sundance Film Festival in  Utah
  • Italian Comedy [an English course]
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation [an Environmental Science/ Studies course]
  • Global Health Disparities [a Global Studies course]
  • Crafting a Meaningful Life [a Philosophy course]
  • Belief in Weird Things [a Psychology course]
  • Managing a Professional Sport Franchise [a Sport and Event Management course]

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the numerous study abroad opportunities available during Winter Term!  Many students will opt to travel during this month as part of one of the programs offered by Elon University.  Here is a small sampling – there are many, many more!:

  • Business in the Caribbean:  The Cayman Islands
  • The Call of South Africa
  • Holocaust Journey
  • Honduras:  Social Entrepreneurship
  • Field Studies of London’s Immigrant Communities Through Photographs and Words

To learn more about these programs as well as other study abroad opportunities at Elon, be sure to visit the Isabella Cannon International Centre’s website.

As I mentioned earlier, Anthony is certainly going to provide more detail from a student perspective about Winter Term in a future post.  But hopefully this provides you with a good introduction to Winter Term and some of the variety offered at this time!  Email me (cborden2@elon.edu) if you have any questions!



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