Difference Between Term and Semester

Term and semester are words generally popular at educational institutions and universities. These terms are used for the duration or the time period for which a session extends or has been agreed to be scheduled. Term is an applicable word that applies to the length of the academic session. On the other hand, colleges and universities have certain words such as semester and trimester which are mostly used there. A number of newly enrolled students do not know the difference when they hear these words being used for the exact length of the academic session.

Be aware of the fact there are a lot of differences between the two words. Make sure you know that term is a generic word that is commonly used in educational colleges and universities, to outline the length of an academic schedule. It is mostly used in institutions in Britain whereas semester is a more popular word in the educational colleges in the United States. The length of a semester is 6 months and there are normally 2 semesters each year. However, a few schools have trimesters and quarters which is 3 to 4 terms in a year. Both term and semester show the length of sessions in a college or university. Understand that term is a general word and semester is a bit more specific.


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    It is a common word in English that suggests length or duration of time. In colleges, terms states the academic term of an educational institution. Various schedules are observed in a number of schools and these depend on the weather conditions in most cases. Nevertheless, in the Southern Hemisphere, the term begins in February and end in December. Moreover, hot climate in Northern Hemisphere restrict the session to conclude by May or June as it gets too hot for students to attend colleges. Also there can be 2 or even 4 terms in a year.

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    Semester means a half year or 6 months. The academic term of a university might be one semester which suggests that there are 2 terms in a year. Furthermore, the academic schedule is distributed into 2 semesters. In other colleges, trimester is used which divides a year into 3 with 4 months sessions. There are also quarters as terms in a college distributing a session into 4. If a college follows the semester schedule, the term might be divided into Fall and Spring semesters.

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