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Semesters versus trimesters: A paradigm shift

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Arun DevORCiD, Emeritus Professor Matt Bentley



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The duration of most engineering education programmes in a University is four years although some are only three years. Each year may have a semester system (two semesters in a year) comprising 12-13 weeks interrupted with some long vacations and ending with long summer vacation, thereby allowing excellent research opportunities for academics. In a trimester system (three trimesters in a year) comprising 12-13 weeks, there are more course-related elements for the students without a long summer break but also much less time for academics to undertake useful research. This fundamental change in a university calendar creates some genuine difficulties (challenges) but may also bring some benefits (opportunities) such as new collaborative initiatives, in-work students for professional development programmes set up within the industry, partnerships between industry and academia, etc. A few examples will be given for an existing programme where these changes have occurred. Besides this, a few new ideas will be proposed for a trimester system. There could be the greater flexibility of developments in teaching and learning used other areas that could be applied in maritime education. This paper will not focus on reducing time of a four-year degree course to a shorter time by introducing a trimester system; it will instead look for new avenues within an existing three-year course fostering new ideas for educational and professional development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): DEV AK, Bently MG

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Education & Professional Development of Engineers in the Maritime Industry

Year of Conference: 2018

Print publication date: 14/11/2018

Acceptance date: 17/07/2018

Date deposited: 26/08/2022

Publisher: The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), UK


Series Title: Education & Professional Development of Engineers in the Maritime Industry