Starting in the fall of 2023, Isothermal Community College will offer most of its courses in an 8-week format. The fall and spring semesters will include a “1st 8-week term” and a “2nd 8-week term.” Additionally, most summer classes will be offered during an 8-week term, although there may be some slightly longer 10-week courses.

We are offering courses in an 8-week format because data from across the nation shows that this format provides several benefits to students that lead to better student success in individual classes and program completion. Major differences between 16-week and 8-week courses include:


  • 12-18 credit hours per 16 week term (on average)
  • Take 4-5 classes at a time
  • Keep up with 4-5 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 4-5 instructors at a time



  • 6-9 credit hours per 8 week term (on average)
  • Take 2-3 classes at a time
  • Keep up with 2-3 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 2-3 instructors at a time

Frequently Asked Questions

Will all classes be offered in 8-week terms?
Most courses will be offered in 8-week terms, but some programs and courses will remain in the 16-week format due to high contact hours.

Why is Isothermal changing to 8-week terms?
Research demonstrates that 8-week terms improve student learning. Taking fewer classes at a time allows you to focus more intensely on the course material, making you likely to remember the material longer.

What will be the delivery format of 8-week classes?
Eight-week classes will be offered in all delivery formats: in- person, in-person combined with online, and completely online.

Does the change to 8-week terms mean I can finish my degree faster?
Eight-week terms make it possible to complete a degree faster, depending on whether you intend to be full-time or part-time. However, to get the most benefit from the compressed time frame, you should take approximately half the number of credits each 8-week term that you would have taken in a 16-week term.

Will 8-week classes be harder?
Classes will not be harder, but it may seem that way at first, because you will be completing the same course more quickly than you may have been used to. However, it is important to remember you should only be taking half the number of classes at any given time, so your overall workload per term will be comparable to the 16-week term.

What is considered a full-time load?
Twelve credits are considered full-time. That means 12-16 credits per 16-week semester, or 6-8 credits in the first 8-week term and 6-8 credits in the second 8-week term.

How many classes do I have to take to complete an associate degree in two years?
If you average two 3 credit classes per 8-week term, you will need to take a couple of classes in the summer to complete a degree in two years. Alternatively, you could take one additional class in two of your 8-week terms. Be sure to talk to your College Navigator and Faculty Mentor about the best approach to building your course schedule to reach your goals.