“I think for students who really are trying to graduate in four years and want to do a second major or minor, summer school is a great option,” said Jan Yopp, dean of summer school.
Each summer session is five and a half weeks long, and classes meet for an hour and a half each week day. Maymester courses only last for three weeks, but students are in class on week days for three hours and 15 minutes, Yopp said.
This summer, the University is offering 550 sections of summer classes, 60 of which are during Maymester.
Maymester and summer school cost the same per credit hour. For undergraduate North Carolina residents, the cost is $235 per credit hour while out-of-state students will pay $620 per credit hour.
Yopp said Maymester is more suited for students who want time for other activities during the summer.
“One of the ideas (behind Maymester) was to give students some options so that they could earn some credit in summer and then have free time to do an internship, do study abroad, work a job or do something else with their summer,” she said.
Some Maymester students will even get to travel as part of their course.
Professor Geoffrey Bell is teaching a course in the environment and ecology department that will spend a week in Clearwater, Fla., in the Tampa Bay. Students will apply the concepts they learned in class by helping restore islands affected by invasive plants.
Bell said he thinks the format of Maymester courses lends itself well to this experiential style.
“You want the emphasis to be on actually doing stuff,” he said.
Although this is his first Maymester course, Bell said he has seen studies that have shown cases where shortened class terms have enhanced student learning. Bell said he thinks part of the reason is because students do not have to balance five courses.
Professor Brandon Bayne said this could even be a challenge in a summer session course, especially in those that typically come with a lot of reading.
“You have to think about how to structure the class in a way that’s fruitful,” he said. “It’s a challenge to really synthesize the material and achieve higher levels of mastery.”
A religious studies professor, Bayne said he enjoyed the smaller class size of summer courses because it allowed him to interact more with students.
He said in his summer course last year, he had 12 students in a class that normally has about 180 students during the school year.
Yopp said the average Maymester class size is 14 students. She said summer session varies more because it includes more large lecture classes.