How Many Weeks is the School Year?

How many weeks is the school year for high schools and colleges?

How many weeks is the school year? Well, that depends on the schooling level, state, and the particular school you’re asking about.

This post will mostly look at the high school level and below. If you’re looking for typical college semester start and end dates, we’ve got you covered right here.

At the high school level and below, there are usually 35 to 40 weeks in a school year, with 40 being the most common number. States normally require somewhere between 175 and 180 school days per year for public schools, with requirements sometimes varying for private and charter schools, as well as for homeschool students.

Because of holidays and cancellations, the 180-day requirement gets spread out over a much longer number of weeks.

First, we’ll take a look at college semesters, then we’ll go down to the K-12 level with a state-by-state rundown of when schools begin each year.

Before we dive in, we’ve got plenty more resources for you to check out. From practical SAT tips to our comprehensive guide on how to write great scholarship essays, we’re here for you!

All right, let’s get down to business.

How Many Weeks is a College Semester?

Spring and fall college semesters range from 15 weeks to 17 weeks in length, while summer semesters may be much shorter, averaging around 12 weeks. These weeks also include time set aside for students to take exams.

Holidays can also impact the number of weeks at a school. For example, Christian colleges may give students the day off for Good Friday.

Other colleges divide the academic year into quarters, which are normally each 10 weeks long.

There are also trimesters, with 12-week terms that are held during the fall, winter, and spring. This arrangement is much less common. Trimesters can sometimes be as short as 10 weeks.

While many colleges have the same number of weeks off, those weeks off may be spaced throughout the year very differently, which leads us to the next sections.

How Long is Summer Break in College?

Summer break is by far the longest break in college, often lasting three months. This gives students the opportunities to land summer jobs and internships, or travel back home if their school is in a different state.

Summer break usually starts in May and ends in August, but the timing depends on the school. The middle of May and the end of August is probably the most common combo.

How Long is Thanksgiving Break in College?

Fall break often corresponds with Thanksgiving. Fall break is often shorter than other breaks and doesn’t last for a full week.

If a school’s fall break is on Thanksgiving week, it’s common to start the break on Wednesday so that students can travel home if desired.

How Long is Winter Break in College?

The transition from high school to college can be tough, but one good change is winter break. In college, winter break can last from 3 to 5 weeks.

That’s plenty of time to relax after some tough finals, enjoy family and friends, and maybe even pick up some work shifts.

How Long is Spring Break in College

While colleges offer longer winter breaks, that’s not the case with spring break. While there are always outliers, don’t expect more than a week of spring break.

On the bright side, spring break is usually longer than fall break at the college level. There aren’t many universities that cut spring break short of a week.

How Many Weeks is the School Year? (By State)

As states often leave it up to school districts (and winter storms) to decide when to hold classes, we’ll just share the number of days.

If states do mandate when schools should start or finish by, we’ll make sure to note it. This data is for all levels from kindergarten through 12th grade in high school.

The requirements often are only for public schools, so you’ll need to look up the specific private school to find information on their academic terms.

How long is the school year near you? States have different required start dates.

All right, let’s dive in!


Alabama requires 180 days of school, and each day has to last at least 6 hours (not counting lunch and recess time).


Alaska schools also require 180 days of school, with 4-5 hours required depending on the grade level.


Arizona requires 180 days too, or schools can meet the quota by meeting a total hours requirement. The required hours per academic year ranges from 712 to 890, depending on grade.


Arkansas doesn’t set the requirements as a state, but rather has an official accreditation board set the standards.

Arkansas school year can’t start before the Monday of the week of August 19th, and must start between the 14th and 26th.


California requires 180 days and also has various requirements for hours (by grade).


Colorado only requires 160 days of school, or schools can meet a required hours quota that varies by grade.


It’s another state with 180 days and some short hours requirements.


Delaware doesn’t have a required number of days, opting instead to use hour requirements. Most grades require 1,060 hours.


It’s 180 days again, with the option to meet an hours quota instead.


Georgia is another 180-day state, with required daily hours from 4.5-5.5 hours.


180 days is again the number in Hawaii, with district options on when to start.


Idaho allows district boards to choose the number of school days per academic year.


Illinois tries to one-up everybody else by requiring 185 school days.


It’s a classic 180-day state, with 5-6 hours of class time required.


Iowa requires 180 days as well, and starts between August 23rd and the first Monday of December. We’d be surprised to hear of any schools waiting to start until December though.


Not to be outdone by Illinois, Kansas requires 186 days of school up through 11th grade.


Kentucky doesn’t get drawn into the competition, and opts for a requirement of 170 days.


Louisiana requires schools to study for 177 days or more.


We’re back to the classic 180-day schedule for Maine.


Maryland is another state requiring 180 days each school year.


Massachusetts requires 180 school days as well.


Michigan is another 180-day state, also requiring 1,098 hours per year. Michigan schools must start after Labor Day.


Minnesota requires only 165 school days per year.


It’s a straightforward 180 days for Mississippi.


Missouri goes by hourly requirements, and mandates that schools start 14 days after the first Monday in September, or later.


School districts set the requirements themselves in Montana.


Nebraska’s State Board of Education decides on school days and other requirements.


Nevada is another 180-day state.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire also mandates 180 days of school.

New Jersey

New Jersey requires 180 days of school with at least 4 hours of school each day.

New Mexico

New Mexico goes by hourly requirements instead of using days.

New York

New York requires 180 days, along with hour requirements.

North Carolina

North Carolina requires 185 days of school, and schools must start on the closest Monday to August 26th. Schools also must finish by the closest Friday to June 11th.

North Dakota

North Dakota goes solely by hour requirements.


Ohio has the board of education in each city set the school day requirements.


Oklahoma goes for 180 days of school each year.


Oregon has varying hour requirements from 900 to 990 depending on the grade level.


It’s another 180-day state with alternative hour requirements.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island requires 180 days of school, or 1,080 hours.

South Carolina

South Carolina requires 180 days with at least 6 hours in school.

South Dakota

South Dakota mandates that schools can’t start before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in September. Wrap your mind around that one!


Tennessee requires 180 days, and schools can’t start before August 1st.


Texas goes with a 1,260-hour requirement, including intermission and recess times. Texas schools must start after the 4th Monday in August, and can’t finish before May 16th.


Utah requires 180 days of school.


Vermont requires 175 days of school each year.


Virginia requires 180 days of school, and mandates that schools don’t start before 14 days before Labor Day. That’s not a typo, it just requires some calendar math.


Washington requires 180 days of school and has total annual hour requirements.

West Virginia

West Virginia mandates 180 days of school and at least 5.3-5.8 hours per school day.


Wisconsin uses hourly requirements, and schools can’t start before September 1st.


Wyoming keeps it cool with a 175-day requirement.

We hope you found this article helpful, and we wish you a great school year, or a happy break!